Rice seed program targets farmers cultivating 1.8 million hectares

NEDA

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said it hoped to distribute inbred and hybrid seed to farmers cultivating 1.8 million hectares (ha) in 15 regions, to alleviate high input costs.

The DA’s National Rice Program (NRP) will handle the operation, which aims for adequate distribution in time for both wet and dry growing seasons.

More than 6.4 million pula of seeds have been distributed to farmers cultivating 582,780 ha, according to the assistant secretary of agriculture for operations, Arnel V. de Mesa.

“The NRP has distributed this year 5.32 million pesos of hybrid seeds and 1.11 million pesos of certified seeds to eligible beneficiary farmers,” he added.

Mr De Mesa said the government will also offer discounted fertilizer vouchers.

The scheme is available to rice farmers registered with the Agricultural Registry, with incentives for farmers using high-yielding seeds.

“We give vouchers in the amount of P1,131 for each hectare planted with inbred (seed) and P2,262 for each hectare planted with hybrid,” he added.

Mr. De Mesa said beneficiaries can also claim various types of fertilizers and bio-stimulants.

“Except for the National Capital Region (NCR) and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, all regions are included in the voucher program,” he added.

To date, 176,394 vouchers worth 285 million pesos have been generated, according to the DA.

PNR has also distributed and promoted the use of nitrogen-fixing bio-fertilizers, which can reduce fertilizer use by 25% to 50% while maintaining yield performance.

“Excluding the NCR, this initiative covers 200,000 ha of irrigated (with intermittent irrigation) or favorable rainfed areas across the country,” Mr. De Mesa said. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson

Ryan H. Bowman