LINGAYEN–Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol assured the distribution of 32,100 bags of hybrid and certified rice seeds worth P81.6 million to farmers in Pangasinan for immediate replanting to replace their lost corps.
Piñol arrived in Pangasinan on Thursday, July 26, to assess the extent of damages on agriculture wrought by the flood spawned by days of monsoon rains dumped by three successive tropical storms.
In a dialogue with farmer leaders at Sison Auditorium, he noted reports that the flood destroyed 32,100 hectares of rice land in the province that were still in their vegetative stage.
The 32,100 bags of rice seeds (one bag of rice seed to one hectare of land) is one of DA’s intervention for damages suffered by farmers from the massive flooding where an estimated yield of 21,997 metric tons of palay were destroyed.
“It is important for us at DA (Department of Agriculture) to deliver all the seeds for broadcast by farmers in their field so that they can catch up,” Piñol said, adding that the effort would help farmers recoup their loses and sustains Pangasinan’s leadership in rice production.
At the same time, Piñol urged the affected farmers to avail of the Sure Loaning Program of the DA which requires no collateral, is interest-free and payable within three years.
A farmer, he said, can borrow P25,000 with the first P5,000 to be released immediately.
Asked by THE PUNCH on how fast this loan can be released, Piñol said: “We will release as soon as they are able to submit the names of the borrowers.”
Piñol said if the rice seeds are not delivered on time, rice production in Pangasinan will be affected.
Gov. Amado Espino III, who welcomed Piñol’s visit, said the province will match the generosity of the Agriculture Secretary and pledged to allocate P25 million for fertilizers to be given to farmers replanting with the palay seeds to be provided by DA.
Piñol remains confident that the Philippines can still meet its target in rice production this year of 20 million metric tons notwithstanding the extensive damage to agriculture sector.
“The flooding may look daunting actually but the computation of our experts points to a less than one percent effect on national (rice) productivity,” he told newsmen.
He recalled that the last harvest that was actually a record in the rice history of the country was 19.28 million metric tons of palay. This year, he said there will be another record, harvest that is expected– 20 million metric tons.
“Kaya critical sa amin sa D.A. na kapag sinabi naming magbibigay kami ng binhi dapat nandito na yan in a week or at the most 10 days because if the floodwater in the farms subside, the farmers can already broadcast the seeds.”
The rice seeds will be delivered to the province and it is the latter that will distribute to affected farmers based on the list coming from Municipal Agriculture Offices to be validated by the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist.
This is again very critical for us kailangan talaga naming na mai-release nang mabilis at pag sinabi naming mabilis, talagang mabilis“.
To assist fishpond owners, he said the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources will provide bangus fingferlings, and if these are insufficient, importation will be necessary. (Leonardo Micua)
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