Agricultural losses caused by Typhoon Soudelor had reached NT$1.553 billion (US$48.9 million) as of press time yesterday, the Council of Agriculture said, as it announced cash relief for farmers in Hualien and Yilan counties and relief loans for those in Hualien, Yilan, Yunlin and Pingtung counties, as well as Tainan and Kaohsiung.
Estimated losses in Yunlin peaked at NT$253.15 million, accounting for about 16 percent of the total losses, followed by Tainan at NT$237.58 million, Yilan at NT$217.62 million, Kaohsiung at NT$163.6 million Pingtung at NT$160.41 million and Hualien at NT$128.06 million, the council said.
About 27 percent of the crops in the nation were damaged, and farmers suffered a loss of NT$1.331 billion, with bananas and pomeloes being the most-stricken crops, followed by guavas, bamboo shoots and papaya, it added.
Photo: Chen Kuan-pei, Taipei
Losses in livestock, aquaculture and forestry were estimated at NT$35.95 million, with facility damages being NT$185.75 million, according to the council.
Saying that the exact estimate of the damage is likely to go up and will be updated daily the following day, Agriculture and Food Agency Deputy Director Lin Li-fang (林麗芳) said that losses in Hualien and Yilan have reached the threshold for a disaster relief fund and a relief loan at a rate of 1.25 percent according to the Agricultural Natural Disaster Relief Regulations (農業天然災害救助辦法).
The loan is also applicable for disaster victims in Hualien, New Taipei City, Tainan, Kaohsiung, Yilan, Yunlin and Pingtung, the council said.
The regulation stipulates that first-grade municipalities are eligible for cash relief if they suffer a loss of more than NT$180 million, with second-grade municipalities entitled to a relief fund for losses of more than NT$100 million, third-grade municipalities for more than NT$60 million and fourth-grade municipalities for more than NT$15 million.
The minimum amounts of agricultural loses eligible for the relief loan is half of those for the cash relief, according to the regulation.
Farmers that have seen more than 20 percent of their crops damaged are also eligible for the relief fund, Lin said, adding that the council and the agency would send agents to assess the damage at affected areas while providing proportionate relief measures for those whose losses do not reach the thresholds for relief funds or loans.
The agency put 9 tonnes of cabbage on the market to suppress the rising price of cabbage on Sunday, but there is no urgent need for boosting the supply of additional vegetables or fruit because the market is relatively stable, with more than 1,000 tonnes of fresh vegetables and fruits supplied daily, and the agency will furnish the market with its inventory only when needed, Lin said.
Saying that there is abundant agricultural supply even after the typhoon, Lin called on the public to consider frozen vegetables as an alternative to fresh produce, adding that the agency had released 1,500 tonnes of such products at supermarkets nationwide.
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