Farmer Jack Imperial woke to a picture of devastation after ash spewed from a volcano in the Philippines - his verdant green pineapple field had been transformed to a dirty dark grey. Mr Imperial said his chances of salvaging produce from his 1-hectare (2.5-acre) farm were small and, in any case, there was no one to sell them to with tourists avoiding the Tagaytay area on the archipelago's biggest island Luzon, 32 km (20 miles) from the Taal volcano.
Damage to agriculture caused by the eruption of the Taal Volcano has now reached P577.59 million, the government reported Tuesday afternoon. According to the latest available data from the Department of Agriculture (DA), the amount of damage has been raised from the previous report of P74.55 million, as an estimated 2,772 hectares have been affected, covering commodities such as rice, corn, coffee, cacao, banana, and high-value crops.
Beginning in August, the University of Hawaii’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources conducted a survey of farmers affected by the Kilauea eruption. The 46 respondents reported that they had collectively lost approximately $27.9 million in destroyed property. Of the total damages reported, nearly two thirds — $17 million — were specifically damage to crops, while destroyed land, buildings and inventory accounted for $4.1 million, $3.3 million and $3 million in losses, respectively.
Carlos Arriola, an exporter of vegetables from Guatemala said it was difficult to find good products at the moment. "Guatemala is suffering from a shortage of escaroles, romaine lettuce, butter lettuce, oak leaf lettuce, Chinese peas, and other crops. The ashes of the eruption have affected many kilometers and burnt the crops they have fallen on. The ashes of the first explosion affected the regions of Santa Maria Cauque, Patzicia, Milpas Altas, and Chimaltenango, among others."
Plants particularly sensitive to SO2 become symptomatic, showing lesions on both sides of the leaves between veins or along their edges ranging in color from tan to white to orange-red to brown, after eight hours of exposure to an air quality registering at less than 1 ppm of SO2. When SO2 combines with rain water, it becomes sulfuric acid. That acid rain increases soil acidity, decreases soil fertility and can lead to both reduced plant growth and fertility as well as foliage and flower damage.
Some P185 million in crops have been destroyed in Albay due to Mayon volcano's eruptions, affecting at least 9,791 farmers and around 7,131 hectares of land here. Che Rebeta, provincial agricultural officer of the Albay Public Safety Emergency Management Office (Apsemo) office, reported the damages to agricultural crops reached P185,281,979. This was up from P94 million last January 26.
Lava has spread up to 3.6 kilometers from Mt. Mayon’s crater since it began intense eruptions more than two weeks ago and volcanic ash has caused P165.5 million in damage to agriculture in Albay province. The eruptions have blanketed swaths of farm land with ash. The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said on Thursday that as of Jan. 30, damage to rice fields had reached P139.8 million; high-value commercial crops, P20.9 million; corn, P4.4 million; abaca, P478,000.
Filipino farmers in Albay have incurred losses amounting to P165.54 million due to the eruption of Mayon Volcano, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said in a report released on Tuesday. “As of January 30, the damages and losses to the agriculture sector brought about by the activity of Mayon Volcano is now at P165.54 million, affecting a total of 8,138 hectares of agricultural areas in the province of Albay,” the DA said.
Mayon Volcano’s eruption has so far affected 112 hectares of agricultural areas, resulting in production loss and damages to high-value crops, amounting PHP1.56 million. Such loss and damages consisted of 35 metric tons (MT) of vegetables valued at PHP1.08 million and 6 MT of fiber crops, particularly abaca, worth PHP0.48 million, the Department of Agriculture (DA) reported Friday.
The head of the Ministry of Rural Development (Seder), stated that volcanic ash had damaged 95 hectares of various crops in the municipality of Comala, such as avocado, coffee, blackberry, lime, lemon and corn, and had affected 26 producers. He said the damages had been corroborated in an inspection tour made on Tuesday by Seder staff, the General Comptroller, and a delegation of the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food in the communities of La Yerbabuena and La Becerrera.
Agriculture in Costa Rica is under threat from the active Turrialba Volcano, which erupted in May this year. The volcano could potentially bury fields under a blanket of ash and turn rivers in to muddy torrents of volcanic mud. Recent eruptions by the volcano, located 36 km east of the capital of San Jose, could affect local crops and dairy production, especially in the more elevated regions of Turrialba, Oreamuno, Tierra Blanca, Alvarado and Coronado. The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock is on high alert. According to the latest figures, the ash presents a hazard for at least 261 hectares of crops.
Cotopaxi in Ecuador continues to rumble after its first eruption in 70 years earlier this month. Over the last week, the volcano has been emitting almost constant steam-and-ash plumes punctuated by small explosions—all signs that magma is rising into the volcano. The steam-and-ash plumes have mostly been 1-2 kilometers in height and rangers in the National Park surrounding the volcano have reported a few millimeters of fine ash fall.
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