CATBALOGAN CITY- Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan expressed her gratitude to the Department of Agriculture and various nongovernment organizations for extending assistance to her province which was successively ravaged by strong typhoons. The Samar governor disclosed that DA’s assistance of P6 million to the displaced fishermen in Marabut and Basey, two of the towns hardest hit by supertyphoon “Yolanda,” helped a lot for them to slowly recover from the devastation.

The assistance came in the form of machineries, fishing boats and gears, replacement of seeds of rice and corn and other planting materials, Tan said.
This assistance from the DA enable the displaced fishermen and farmers to start again and gain back whatever economic losses they sustained due to Yolanda, she added. “The quick response was made possible through the strong collaboration between local government units and DA officials in the province,” the governor said. Meanwhile, the governor appealed to aid agencies to provide relief for longer period than planned and to all farmers considering that they were the most affected sector due to Yolanda when it hit Samar on November 8, 2013.

The province was hit again by “Ruby,” a strong typhoon on December, 2014 causing massive impacts to agriculture. The province agriculture sector was badly hit by the typhoon, particularly coconut fields, banana and rice fields. “It takes about one year for banana trees to grow back, three to five to four years and even longer for coconuts. This means local farmers would find it hard to feed themselves once food aid from the government and donors ended in the next few months,” Tan said.

The provincial government is encouraging people to plant cash crops like corn and vegetables so that local economy can recover faster. “The farmers need to plant as soon as possible because the food assistance will come to an end in the next few months. They need to earn money,” she said. (JAZMIN BONIFACIO)