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Haiyan forces exodus of farmers from C Philippines

Updated: 2013-11-22 19:51
( Xinhua)

MANILA - The extensive damage caused by typhoon Haiyan, locally named "Yolanda", in central and western Philippines have forced farmers to abandon their lands and migrate to other areas, a senior government official said Friday.

Agriculture Undersecretary Dante Delima said typhoon Haiyan has "altered the topography of the country's farm sector."

Delima said a total of 8,000 people from central Philippines who are mostly farmers have already migrated to the country's capital region, the National Capital Region, while another 5,000 individuals are waiting to be transported from the Bicol region in eastern Philippines.

"After the effects of the super typhoon have somehow subsided, the next problem that needs to be addressed is who will till agricultural lands in those areas?" Delima asked during the Annual Rice Forum organized by the Asia Rice Foundation on Friday.

Based on figures released by the Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA), typhoon Haiyan damaged 10.6 billion pesos ($242. 45 million) worth of crops, livestock and farm infrastructure.

The DA said rice-growing and coconut-growing areas as well as sugar plantations and mills in central Philippines were battered by the typhoon, destroying more than 145,000 metric tons of unmilled rice and 2.5 million coconut trees.

The government said it has already distributed rice and vegetable seeds and farm equipment to farmers in affected areas.