P449M allotted for palay seeds distribution in Region 12

Rice farmers in Sarangani. MindaNews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 08 May) – The Department of Agriculture (DA) has allotted some P449 million for the distribution of free palay seeds and fertilizers to rice farmers in Region 12 or Soccsksargen in preparation for the coming planting season.

Arlan Mangelen, DA Region 12 executive director, said the procurement process for the production inputs is now underway as part of the implementation of the agency’s flagship Rice Resiliency Program (RRP).

He said they are targeting to initially distribute to qualified farmers some 28,000 bags of hybrid palay seeds, 10,000 bags of inbred palay seeds and 104,000 bags of fertilizers.

These will be augmented by 189,000 bags of fertilizers through the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), he said.

“We’re targeting to cover 132,656 hectares of rice areas the start of the wet cropping season,” said Mangelen, who led the orientation on the RRP rollout in Sarangani province on Thursday.

DA-12 also held orientations on the RRP on Tuesday and Wednesday in North Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat provinces. The South Cotabato leg was scheduled Friday.

Mangelen said RRP was among the major projects initiated by DA central office to ensure food security in the country amid the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Dubbed “Ahon Lahat Pagkaing Sapat Kontra COVID-19 Program,” he said it aims to elevate the implementation and accomplishments of the agency’s existing programs to help address the health crisis.

Under the RRP, he said DA will provide farmers with inbred and hybrid palay seeds as well as fertilizers, in addition to the same assistance provided under the RCEF and the National Rice Program.

A project briefer said RRP seeks to expand DA’s existing programs for the rice sector, especially the RCEF, Expanded Inbred Rice Production and Expanded Hybrid Rice Production programs.

Mangelen said the rice seeds and fertilizers will be released to the farmers in coordination with the local government units, through the municipal, city and agriculture offices.

He said these will be distributed this month, in preparation for the expected start of wet planting season in June. (MindaNews)