Ashfall from the Taal volcano that is threatening to erupt has caused PHP3.06bn ($60.07m) of agriculture-related damage and losses according to the latest bulletin released by the Department of Agriculture (DA).
A week ago on 14 January, only PHP577.39m losses were reported and in response, the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation had said that it has enough available funds to pay for the indemnity of affected insured farmers and fishermen.
The significant increase in losses is attributed to an additional report from affected province Laguna as well as updated reports from Batangas and Cavite where high-value crops such as coffee, cacao, pineapple along with assorted fruits and vegetables, rice, coconut and fisheries were adversely affected.
In some areas of the Batangas province, formation of new fissures and cracks were also observed.
The Taal volcano continues to generate weak explosions and earthquakes a week after it started emitting ash and steam. Earlier today, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) reiterated that scientific data show that a hazardous eruption remains possible “within hours to days.”
According to various news reports, volcanic ash has blanketed crops, livestock animals and water sources.
Fisheries are the most affected commodity in terms of damage and losses, said the DA report. Out of the 6,000 fish cages installed around Taal Lake, there were an estimated amount of PHP1.6bn losses for the culture of tilapia and some bangus species. This was due to fishes being killed by the high sulphur content in the ash fall.