The lava and thick ash the Taal volcano spewed into the sky this week has destroyed millions of dollars’ worth of crops that Filipino farmers make their livings selling.
Jack Imperial, 49, planned to harvest his one-hectare pineapple plantation to sell the fruit to tourists from his store at a local market in Tagaytay city, he told Reuters.
But the 17-year veteran was unable to get to the crop before Taal became active Sunday. Now the fields are covered in ash and most of the crop is unsalvageable, colored grey from the eruption.
“We will not be able to harvest the pineapples that are already due for harvesting,” he said. “We just have to accept that we will incur a loss. Even if we are able to harvest some pineapples, if customers are scared to come because of the eruption, the pineapples would just end up rotting.”
Over $10.9 million worth of crops have been damaged since the ash-fall, according to the Department of Agriculture.
People have been advised to wear masks to protect from the ash, while the bodies of animals have been discovered buried in the thick residue.
Nearly 44,000 people have fled what volcanologists have identified as a nine-mile danger zone around Taal. Authorities warned a massive eruption may happen at any time. Such an eruption could set off a tsunami from the lake in which Taal sits.