Thousands of people have been evacuated from Batangas province as the Taal volcano continues to erupt, threatening the livelihood of hundreds of farmers who rely on its fertile land. Many grieve for their ash-strewn paddy fields of livestock and crops. They say they are now slowly losing hope and are thinking of new ways on how to stand up and support their family.
A report released by the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office (DA RFO) IV-A states that the initial damages and losses for coffee, corn, and livestock due to the eruption have already reached P577.59 million , as of writing. The eruption had already destroyed 752 hectares of land and hundreds of animals have been affected. The number is feared to rise in the coming days, as the volcano shows no sign of stopping.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) also added that fishkill is expected in Taal Lake due to high sulfur content brought by the volcanic eruption.
For the Filipino Farmers
On the brighter side, Department of Agriculture Secretary William Dar says affected farmers and fisherfolks may avail of the Survival and Recovery Assistance Program where the farmers can get a loan of P25,000 with zero interest and payable in three years.
Dar also added that affected locals may have an option to borrow a higher amount under their recently-launched Micro and Small Agribusiness Program.
The BFAR is also aiming to provide help once aquaculture operation in the Taal Lake resumes. Our fisherfolks will receive:
- 7 million tilapia fingerlings
- 20,000 ulang fingerlings
- 50,000 hito fingerlings
- 100,000 bighead carp fingerlings
- 5,000 ayungin fingerlings:
The Agricultural Credit Policy Council will also provide P30 million to the Rural Bank of Mt Carmel for the Survival and Recovery Loan Assistance program, aiming to benefit around 1,200 farmers and fisherfolk in Batangas.
In times like these, Filipino farmers really do need support and help from the government. But it’s not the end of everything. According to scientific research, while volcanic ash kills vegetation immediately after an eruption, it will soon after seep into the ground and enrich the soil with minerals that sustain future crops.
Indeed, there’s light at the end of the tunnel!