Livestock Industries Suffer in the Wake of Typhoon

TAIWAN - The Council of Agriculture has estimated losses amounting to nine billion new dollars (TWD) as the result of Typhoon Morakot.
calendar icon 14 August 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

Financial losses suffered by Taiwan's agricultural sector as a result of Typhoon Morakot had exceeded 9.78 billion new dollars (TWD; US$272.7 million) as of 13 August, according to statistics released by the Cabinet-level Council of Agriculture (COA).

Taiwan News reports that the figure is the second-highest since 1991, when the council started to keep such records, COA officials said, adding that the worst agricultural disaster was caused by Typhoon Herb in 1996, when agricultural losses of TWD 18.08 billion were incurred.

Poultry and livestock losses amounted to TWD 1.32 billion, with 118,143 hogs, 5.7 million chickens and 1.07 million ducks perishing in the storm.

Poultry, livestock and aquaculture might take a long time to recover, said COA Minister, Chen Wu-hsiung. He added that the COA estimates about five to six weeks for poultry farmers to resume production, while pig farmers and aquaculturists might not return to full speed for six months.

Damage to crops amounted to TWD 3.33 billion as a result of Morakot, with 26 per cent of the crops on 62,574 hectares of farmland lost, according to COA estimates.

Bananas suffered the worst damage, with 5,649 hectares ravaged by strong winds and flooding, followed by papayas, guavas, custard apples, rice, bamboo shoots and leafy vegetables.

Meanwhile, 684 hectares of farmland worth an estimated NT$665.7 million were washed away, with the eastern county of Taitung suffering the most with 524 hectares buried under debris or carried away by floodwater.

The agricultural losses also included an estimated NT$174 million in damage to farming facilities.

The COA statistics also show that the aquaculture sector incurred an estimated NT$3.93 billion in financial losses, an 18-year high for losses resulting from a single storm.

A combined 8,381 hectares of fish farms in southern Taiwan were severely damaged by Morakot, the worst typhoon to hit the south in half a century. Of the damaged aquaculture farm areas, 1,231 hectares were coastal fish ponds.

According to the Minister Chen, farmers in 13 cities and counties will be entitled to cash relief, with those in 14 cities and counties also eligible for low-interest disaster loans.

In addition, those with existing agricultural credit and low-interest disaster loans will be able to extend their principal and interest loan terms for one more year, while the Agricultural Trust Fund guarantees for 90 percent.

Mr Chen also said that vegetable and rice production will resume production in three weeks, once the floodwater has receded, concludes the report in Taiwan News.

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