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Typhoon Aghon: Impact and Response in the Agriculture Market

Typhoon Aghon Impact: Agricultural Advisories, Damages, Market Price Increases, and Government Response

Image Source: PAGASA

Typhoon Aghon

On May 24, 2024, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) reported a low-pressure area east of Surigao del Sur, which turned into Tropical Depression Aghon that initially placed four areas under Signal No. 1, including Eastern Samar, Dinagat Islands, Siargao Islands and Bucas Grande islands. 

On May 26, 2024, Aghon intensified into a tropical storm over Dolores in the province of Quezon with maximum sustained winds of 65 kilometers per hour (kph) and gusts of up to 80 kph as it moved at 15 kph. The region of CALABARZON was placed in Storm Signal No. 2 as the typhoon intensified. The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) canceled several domestic flights to and fro San Jose, Mindoro, Naga, Camarines Sur, and Virac in Catanduanes due to the unfavorable weather conditions caused by the typhoon. On May 28, 2024, PAGASA lifted wind signals as typhoon Aghon weakened, leaving the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).

Advisories to Farmers and Fisherfolks Amid Typhoon Aghon

On May 26, 2024, the Department of Agriculture (DA) announced that they are actively monitoring the agricultural sector through the DA-Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Operations Center in anticipation of Typhoon Aghon (International Name: Ewiniar), the first typhoon to enter the country in 2024. The DA has taken several measures, including prepositioning rice and corn seeds and storing drugs and biologics for livestock and poultry in secure locations. Regional DA offices have been mobilized for field monitoring and are working closely with other national and regional DRRM offices and local government units (LGUs).

The DA also issued advisories for farmers and fisherfolk, encouraging early harvesting and the use of post-harvest facilities to reduce the impact of Typhoon Aghon. Farmers were advised to secure seed reserves, planting materials, and farm inputs; relocate animals with sufficient feed and water; move farm machinery and equipment to higher ground; and clear drainage systems in irrigation areas and rice paddies to prevent flooding. Fisherfolk were instructed to avoid sea travel and move their fishing vessels to safer, higher ground.

Damages brought by Typhoon Aghon to Agriculture

On May 31, 2024, DA Assistant Secretary and Spokesman Arnel de Mesa informed reporters that the total agricultural damage caused by the typhoon had reached Php 81.84 million, with 57.91% of the damages affecting high-value crops (HVC). The DA reported crop losses totaling 2,568 metric tons (MT), impacting 1,482 farmers across 948 hectares, of which 55.25% still have a chance of recovery.

The DA-DRRMOC report revealed that 349 Ha of high-value crops (HVC) were damaged, with 43.27% having a chance to recover. The damage resulted in 1,268 metric tons (MT) of HVC losses valued at Php 47.39 million. The most affected HVC included lowland crops, spices, commercial crops, fruits, and root crops. Additionally, typhoon Aghon damaged 500 Ha of rice fields, with 57.40% potentially recoverable, incurring losses of 1,091 MT valued at Php 25.09 million. Furthermore, 65 Ha of corn farms were devastated, with 79.88% having a chance to recover, leading to 93 MT of losses valued at Php 2.50 million. In Quezon, 34 Ha of cassava farms were affected, all having a chance to recover, resulting in 135 MT of losses valued at Php 1.21 million.

The livestock and poultry industry also suffered from the typhoon, affecting 24,514 heads of poultry, chicken, goat, carabao, cattle, and swine, with losses valued at Php 4.54 million. Additionally, the typhoon damaged agricultural infrastructure, including greenhouses, pig pens, and irrigation canals, with losses valued at Php 965,400. Damage to agricultural machinery and equipment, such as hand tractors, threshers, and water pumps, amounted to Php 135,000.

Impact of Typhoon Aghon on the Market

On May 27, 2024, DA reported that the supply of highland vegetables remains sufficient despite the impact of Typhoon Aghon. However, the agency anticipates challenges with the supply of lowland vegetables since the peak harvest season has already concluded. Meanwhile, the retail prices of vegetables have increased by Php 5 per kilogram (kg) in CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, and Eastern Visayas due to the typhoon’s effects. The DA noted that this price hike is the maximum expected as there were no reports of delays in the transportation of vegetables received by the agency. To protect consumers from unscrupulous vendors, the agency is conducting strict monitoring.

On May 29, 2024, Mr. Mark Makalalad, a GMA news reporter, conducted a price monitoring of vegetables in the retail markets of San Juan City and Quezon City in Metro Manila. He noted that retail prices of selected vegetables increased by Php 20 per kg after the devastation of typhoon Aghon. These selected vegetables include sitao, which increased from Php 120 per bundle to Php 140 per bundle; okra, which increased from Php 140 per kg to Php 160 per kg; eggplant, which also increased from Php 80 per kg to Php 100 per kg; and tomatoes, which increased from Php 80 per kg to Php 100 per kg. 

On May 31, 2024, Nasser Briguera, spokesman for the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), reported that the nationwide retail price of galunggong rose by Php 40 per kg, from Php 200 to Php 240 due to the effects of typhoon Aghon. Despite the typhoon’s impact, the fish supply remains stable, backed by imports during the closed fishing season. BFAR expects prices to normalize once weather conditions improve.

Response to Typhoon Aghon

On May 28, 2024, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. initiated a comprehensive government effort to support recovery operations in response to the typhoon before departing for his visits to Brunei Darussalam and Singapore. In his departure speech, the President directed the DA, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and Department of Health (DOH) to provide extensive assistance and medical support to the affected regions. He also tasked the DPWH and Department of Transportation (DOTr) with swiftly restoring damaged infrastructure and transportation facilities. The DSWD has already distributed Php 1.35 million in aid and has Php 607.9 million on standby. The President also emphasized the readiness of 841 search and rescue teams, 465 transportation assets, and 436 emergency telecommunications units.

On May 30, 2024, DA also implemented interventions in response to the damages caused by the typhoon. The agency provided Php 23.06 million worth of seeds, planting materials, and bio-control measures. The offering of the Survival and Recovery (SURE) Loan Program from the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) was also initiated with a loanable amount of up to Php 25,000 payable in three years at zero interest. 

References: Adel, R. 2024, May 24. LPA develops into Tropical Depression Aghon; Signal No. 1 raised in 4 areas. The Philippine Star. Retrieved May 31, 2024 from https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2024/05/24/2357556/lpa-develops-tropical-depression-aghon-signal-no-1-raised-4-areas

Adel, R. 2024, May 26. Signal No. 2 raised in parts of CALABARZON due to ‘Aghon’. The Philippine Star. Retrieved May 31, 2024 from https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2024/05/26/2358051/signal-no-2-raised-parts-calabarzon-due-aghon

Adel, R. 2024, May 26. ‘Aghon’ slightly strengthens over Quezon province. The Philippine Star. Retrieved May 31, 2024 from https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2024/05/26/2358062/aghon-slightly-strengthens-over-quezon-province

Adel, R. 2024, May 28. ‘Aghon’ weakens, PAGASA lifts wind signals. The Philippine Star. Retrieved May 31, 2024 from https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2024/05/28/2358571/aghon-weakens-pagasa-lifts-wind-signals

Caparas, J. (2024, May 28). ‘Aghon’ leaves behind several dead, millions of pesos in damage. ANC ABS-CBN News. Retrieved May 29, 2024 from https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/2024/5/28/-aghon-leaves-behind-several-dead-millions-of-pesos-in-damage-2202

Cariaso, B. (2024, May 28). DA official: Vegetable retail prices higher by P5/K. The Philippine Star. Retrieved May 28, 2024 from https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2024/05/28/2358480/da-official-vegetable-retail-prices-higher-p5k

Cariaso, B. (2024, May 31). Galunggong price up by P40 per kilo. The Philippine Star. Retrieved May 31, 2024 from https://www.philstar.com/nation/2024/05/31/2359263/galunggong-price-p40-kilo

Cellona, J. (2024, May 27). Mauban fishermen appeal for help after Aghon destroyed their boats. ABS-CBN News. Retrieved May 27, 2024 from https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/2024/5/27/mauban-fishermen-appeal-for-help-after-aghon-destroyed-their-boats-1358

DA-DRRMOC. (2024, May 30) DA Bulletin No. 8 on Typhoon Aghon. Department of Agriculture. Retrieved May 31, 2024 from https://www.facebook.com/dadrrmopcen/posts/pfbid0XFVtcihGkjEMzdBfwGrdzvguHJNwCPVNeHNKUiiqEYXziWm533XYqVFbrn6Y6z9Pl

GMA Integrated News. (2024, May 29). Dobol B TV Livestream: May 29, 2024 – Replay. Retrieved May 29, 2024 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYy_dS1zwfg&t=2868s

Halili, A. (2024, May 29). Crop damage from Aghon at P11 million so far, DA says. Business World. Retrieved May 29, 2024 from https://www.bworldonline.com/economy/2024/05/28/597987/crop-damage-from-aghon-at-p11-million-so-far-da-says/

Reyes, B. (2024, May 29). DA: Vegetable prices up due to Aghon but supply sufficient. GMA Integrated News. Retrieved May 29, 2024 from https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/topstories/nation/908239/da-vegetable-prices-up-due-to-aghon-but-supply-sufficient/story/

Santos, J. (2024, May 27). ‘Aghon’ hits 21,000 hectares of standing crops—DA. Manila Bulletin. Retrieved May 27, 2024 from https://mb.com.ph/2024/05/27/aghon-hits-21-000-hectares-of-standing-crops-da

Santos, J. (2024, May 28). ‘Aghon’ damage to PH agri hits P11.83M— DA. Manila Bulletin. Retrieved May 29, 2024 from https://mb.com.ph/2024/5/28/aghon-damage-to-ph-agri-hits-p11-83-m-da

Sevillano, S. (2024, May 27). DA assures aid for farmers, fishers amid Typhoon Aghon. Philippine News Agency. Retrieved May 27, 2024 from https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1225573

Sevillano, S. (2024, May 27). Vegetable supply stable despite Aghon. Philippine News Agency. Retrieved May 27, 2024 from https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1225657

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