Roxas City (12 September) — Capiceño farmers have already benefited from the government’s assistance to improve palay production in the countryside.
Agricultural Coordinating Officer Lilia Peñaranda of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Western Visayas said that the government has allotted some 100,010 fertilizer discount coupons for all farmers in Capiz.
She added that the discount coupons for palay farmers allocated for Capiceño farmers cover the 50,005 hectares total physical area of the province wherein two discount coupons are intended per hectare of palay farm.
Nationwide, the DA has so far distributed 2.66 million fertilizer discount coupons to palay farmers this wet or main crop under its joint fertilizer program with local government units (LGUs).
“government has allotted some 100,010 fertilizer discount coupons for all farmers in Capiz.”
The distribution of said discount coupons is part of the ongoing initiatives of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to carry out her State of the Nation Address (SONA) pledge to raise the Philippines’ food sufficiency level and increase incomes in the countryside.
Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap stressed that said distribution of 2.66 million coupons to farmers tilling some 1.33 million hectares represents 51 percent of this project’s target coverage of 2,587,678 hectares this wet crop.
He added that this DA-LGU subsidy program is a key component of the Arroyo government’s national self-sufficiency program meant to make the Philippines at least 98 percent sufficient in the staple food by 2010.
Yap said that the DA has allocated some P1.29 billion for the joint DA-LGUs fertilizer subsidy program.
Under the fertilizer subsidy program, the DA hands out said discount coupons worth P250 each at the rate of two coupons per farmer per hectare while the LGUs allot as many as four coupons per hectare to the same beneficiaries in their localities.
Fertilizer support is a key component of President Arroyo’s FIELDS program to spell food security on the medium term and which stands for Fertilizer, Irrigation and other rural infrastructure, Research and extension work, Loans, Dryers and other postharvest facilities, and seeds.
Last summer, Yap and local executives agreed to embark on this subsidy program beginning this wet crop to help small farmers reeling from the spiraling cost of farm inputs costs and enable them to rapidly raise their yields by using the right amount of fertilizers for their palay crops.
Yap noted that the prices of petrochemical fertilizers have more than doubled this year to a range of P1,500 to P1,900 per bag as an offshoot of the sky-high crude oil rates in the world market. (PIA)