MANILA, Oct 28 (Mabuhay) — The Department of Agriculture (DA) urged farmers and fishers to conduct early harvest as Tropical Storm Paeng intensified on Thursday.

(MNS photo)

In an advisory, the DA said matured crops must be harvested to prevent wider agricultural loss as Paeng continued to move west-southwestward.

“The Department is advising farmers to harvest matured crops and utilize post-harvest facilities; secure seed reserves, planting materials and other farm inputs, as well as feeds and water for livestock; relocate animals, farm machinery, and equipment to higher ground,” the DA said.

The department also insisted that irrigation and rice paddies must not be obstructed to avoid flooding in areas expected to be affected.

Likewise, fishers were also advised to secure their harvest and the safety of their fishing vessels.

“Fisherfolk are advised to perform early harvest and mobilize post-harvest equipment and facilities; secure fishing vessels in the higher ground, and dismiss sea travel as potentially rough conditions prevail over affected seaboards,” it added.

In the DA-Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Operations Center’s first bulletin, more than a million hectares of standing crops in seven regions may be possibly affected.

“Based on the combined data of Regions I, II, III, IV-A, IV-B, V, and CAR, the area of standing crops that may be affected by TS “PAENG” totals 1,051,518 hectares (70.59 percent of the national standing crops) for rice and 64,336 hectares (26.64 percent of the national standing crops) for corn,” it said.

Furthermore, the DA vowed to continuously monitor information from PAGASA and release situation reports on agriculture.

Paeng was last estimated 540 kilometers east of Borongan City in Eastern Samar, moving west-northwestward at 10 kph.

The DA has been monitoring damage assessments following previous tropical cyclones Maymay and Neneng.

It has recorded over PHP594 million worth of loss in agriculture, affecting 22,437 farmers and fishers so far.

The DA, meanwhile, assured the distribution of seeds, drugs, biologics, fingerlings, and utilization of recovery loans and rehabilitation funds. (MNS)