As Filipino rice farmers continue to suffer from the high cost of farm inputs, the Department of Agriculture (DA), through its National Rice Program (NRP) continues to provide support to increase farm productivity and boost income.
For this year’s wet and dry cropping season, NRP targets to distribute quality inbred and hybrid seeds in 15 regions covering a total of 1.8 million hectares (ha).
According to DA Assistant Secretary for Operations Arnel de Mesa, more than P6.4M-worth of seeds has been distributed covering 582,780 ha of farmland.
“NRP has already dispersed P5.32M-worth of hybrid seeds and PP1.11M-worth of certified seeds to eligible farmer-beneficiaries this year.”
“NRP has already dispersed P5.32M-worth of hybrid seeds and PP1.11M-worth of certified seeds to eligible farmer-beneficiaries this year,” de Mesa said.
Aside from the seed support, the agriculture official added that the government continues to provide assistance through the Fertilizer Discount Voucher program, which entitles rice farmers registered under the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture at a price cut in their fertilizer purchase.
“We give vouchers amounting to P1,131 for every ha planted with inbred, and P2,262 for every ha planted with hybrid,” De Mesa explained.
He added that beneficiaries may also claim inorganic and organic fertilizers, foliar fertilizers, bio-fertilizers, and bio-stimulants.
“Except for the National Capital Region (NCR) and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, all regions are included in the voucher program,” de Mesa explained.
As of date, a total of 176,394 vouchers have been generated amounting to more than P285M.
“8,151 vouchers amounting to P12.7M have already been claimed, which covers 8,540 ha of rice land.”
“Based on our monitoring, 8,151 vouchers amounting to P12.7M have already been claimed, which covers 8,540 ha of rice land. We have already instructed our Regional Field Offices to fast track and expedite the voucher generation and distribution, in line with the directives of our President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. that we (DA) will focus on increasing production,” he said.
Also part of the DA’s support to the local rice industry, the NRP has been distributing and massively promoting the use of Nitrogen-fixing bio-fertilizer, which can reduce fertilizer use by 25-50% while maintaining yield performance.
“Except NCR, this initiative covers 200,000 ha of irrigated (with intermittent irrigation) or favorable rainfed areas across the country,” de Mesa explained, adding that 200 packets of biofertilizer have been distributed in the central Luzon Region during the project launch.
A total of 165,972 packets are set to be handed-out to Ilocano farmers.
“We will be establishing demonstration areas in selected regions to showcase the technology, and we have allotted P33M in funds for this,” de Mesa concluded.