Amidst the deaths and devastation wrought by Super Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan that lashed the Philippines last weekend, the island nation has caught a much-needed break. The rice crop was spared because the storm struck in between planting seasons, say officials with the International Rice Research Institute.
Leyte, the province that endured the worst of the typhoon, is a rice–producing province, with more than 100,000 hectares of rice land. Between 2000 and 2009, Leyte posted the third biggest increase in rice production among all provinces, and has the highest average annual growth rate in terms of yield per hectare.
Coming from an assessment meeting with the Philippine Department of Agriculture today, V. Bruce J. Tolentino, IRRI deputy director general for communication and partnership, said that the typhoon struck Leyte after most farms had already completed their wet season harvest and were just starting to prepare for the dry season crop.
“The most serious issues will arise from extensive losses resulting from the storm surge – in farm machinery, storage, housing, and damage to roads and irrigation. These will need replacement and rehabilitation,” said Dr. Tolentino.
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