Tacloban City ?Rice production in Leyte may be affected as the floods of the past few days submerged about 10,000 hectares of rice fields, according to a congressman.
Rep. Sergio Apostol of Leyte's second congressional district said initial reports received by his office showed that the floods destroyed at least P20 million worth of palay in nine municipalities.
These were in the towns of La Paz, Dagami, Tabon-tabon, Pastrana, Mayorga, Barugo, Dulag, Julita and MacArthur. Some of the damaged rice was ready-for-harvest.
Apostol said he expected the cost of damage to go up once he received the reports from five other towns?Tunga, Capoocan, Jaro, Carigara and Burauen.
The second district of Leyte, composed of 14 towns, is considered the rice granary of the province. Its annual production of palay (unmilled rice) averages about 180,000 metric tons, representing around 70 percent of Leyte's total production last year.
Apostol said he would ask the Department of Agriculture to help the affected farmers and assist them in coping with the losses suffered due to the floods.
Leyte and some parts of Eastern Visayas were hit by floods and landslides after non-stop rains on Wednesday and Thursday.
Leo Cañeda, DA director for Eastern Visayas, said there was a possibility that palay production in Leyte and the rest of Region 8 would decline because of the flood damage.
"But we still remain hopeful that we can still have a bumper rice harvest for this year," Cañeda said.
He said his office was ready to provide assistance to the affected farmers, not just in the second district but the entire Eastern Visayas as well.
The DA, he added, could provide seeds to the farmers and would ask the National Irrigation Authority to rebuild the irrigation systems that were destroyed by the floods. /inquirer