By TRISTAN JAMES BIGLETE
PLARIDEL, Bulacan — When Typhoon Maring (International name: Kompasu) headed out of the country’s area of responsibility on Tuesday, farmers were left with its aftermath as flooding engulfed millions-worth of agricultural lands and crops.
“Their crops were flooded and destroyed. Farmers have no income now and are buried deep in debts,” Danilo Ramos, the chairperson of Farmers group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP).
On Wednesday, the Department of Agriculture (DA) published a report saying that Typhoon Maring caused P692 million ($13.67 million) in agricultural damage, with rice and corn fields bearing the brunt of the damages, while about 32,392 farmers and fisherfolk were affected.
Among the farming and fishing communities hit are the regions of Cordillera, Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Bicol, and Western Visayas. These areas are also under quarantine measures to curb movement within provinces and cities.
KMP said due aid must be afforded to farmers grappling with the aftermath of the storm.
“The latest calamity will further take a toll on the situation of farmers who are still reeling from the effects of lockdowns due to rising COVID cases,” said Ramos.
Photos posted online by the local press in Northern Luzon captured how Maring ruined the crops farmers have planted for the season.
In Alcala, when the Cagayan River began to rise, harvested crops were transferred to higher ground before the storm could swamp the farmlands.
In Baggao, under rainfall, farmers rushed to save what was left behind of their 400 sacks of corn as floodwater intensified and dragged the harvest away.
“Hundreds of sacks of corn were swept away by the rampaging flood. There were so many corn and rice, which have yet to be harvested, were also destroyed,” said farmer leader Isabelo Adviento of Danggayan-Cagayan, a local chapter of KMP.
Adviento called for production subsidies, financial aid, and relief goods for the farmers whose livelihood was affected by Maring.