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DA chief eyes financial aid for poultry farmers affected by bird flu
Agriculture chief Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol on Monday said that he is seeking for cash assistance for the farmers affected by the bird flu outbreak in the country. Stock photo
MANILA, Philippines — Agriculture chief Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol on Monday said that he is seeking cash assistance for farmers affected by the bird flu outbreak in Pampanga, the first in the country.
“I really believe that the government should come in to assist the farmers here because devastating itong epekto nito,” Piñol said at a televised press briefing.
Piñol said he is coordinating with other government agencies so that farmers whose fowls will be culled will be compensated. He added that he he had discussed the immediate assistance plan with the local government officials of Pampanga, including Gov. Lilia Pineda and Mayor Venancio "Asyong" Macapagal of San Luis, the town where an outbreak has been confirmed.
He said he does not have the exact number of farmers affected by the bird flu outbreak yet but it will include farmers of San Luis, Pampanga where the “bird flu stigma” is and those within the seven-kilometer radius.
The Agriculture secretary last Sunday ordered a ban on shipment of poultry from Luzon to other points in the country.
“We’re looking at compensation package of P80 per bird, if you were talking of 200,000 birds, that's about P16 million,” Piñol said.
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“In addition to that of course ‘yung operational cost nito – Iyong sweldo ng mga tao na magde-depopulate ng areas and other expenses,” he added.
Piñol said P80 is not much because the farmers affected will not be able to raise chicken for the next 90 days. He explained the experts said that after culling affected chickens and disinfecting the ground zero, the farmers have to wait for 21 days before they can test “sentinel birds” which will be tested and observed for virus.
Arlene Vytiaco of Animal Industry National Avian Influenza Focal Person said the minimum quarantine period is 90 days.
Loan assistance for poultry farmers
Aside from the calamity assistance, Piñol said he asked the Agriculture-Agricultural Credit Policy Council to prepare a P25,000 loan assistance under the survival and recovery loan package which are offered to farmers facing calamities.
The Agriculture chief explained that P5,000 in the package is a grant from the government while the P20,000 is a “no collateral” loan payable in two years. He clarified that the amount is already on top of the calamity assistance so that the farmers can start again.
Piñol said the loaning program was designed after the program used during the Agusan flood. It is also the same program used for Marawi evacuees including the farmers and fisher folks.
He also said that the farmers will be provided with livelihood while they wait for the outbreak to be cleared.
The DA confirmed the country’s first outbreak of bird flu in San Luis last Friday.