Fertilizer vouchers eyed to boost rice production
Farmers reap their newly-harvested palay at a rice field in Barangay Buer in Aguilar, Pangasinan on October 1, 2022.

MANILA, Philippines — The government will distribute fertilizer vouchers to qualified farmer-beneficiaries to help boost rice production in the country, Malacañang said yesterday.

The Department of Agriculture (DA), which President Marcos concurrently heads, issued updated guidelines on the implementation of the fertilizer discount voucher project under the National Rice Program.

Under DA’s Memorandum Order 65, eligible beneficiaries will be given vouchers, which will be used in purchasing urea fertilizers, the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) said in a statement issued yesterday.

“The use of fertilizer vouchers offers an alternative to farmers with lower purchasing power to buy a sufficient volume of urea recommended for their rice farm,” the OPS said.

The assistance aims to cushion the impact of “under-application of urea fertilizer to palay production and to food security.”

The fertilizer discount voucher project covers regions that plant inbred and hybrid rice seeds, except for the National Capital Region and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The discount vouchers are for one-time use only and may be claimed in any accredited fertilizer merchant in the preferred area of the farmer-beneficiaries.

“A supplemental fund sourced from an unprogrammed regular agency fund has been released to enable rice farmers to meet the recommended urea fertilizer, thereby securing rice production in the country,” the OPS said.

Data from the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority showed that the average price of urea per 50-kilo bag is P2,523.68 and P2,490.35 for urea granular.

Marcos earlier met with officials of Chen Yi Agventures to discuss measures aimed at helping farmers affected by the increasing prices of fertilizers.

Chen Yi Agventures’ rice processing center is reportedly the most technologically advanced in Southeast Asia.

Western Visayas logs P1.5 billion agri damage

Meawhile, the cost of agricultural damage from Severe Tropical Storm Paeng in Western Visayas has soared to P1.5 billion, according to the DA regional office.

As of 9 a.m. yesterday, the region had recorded over 179,209 hectares of agriculture and aquaculture areas that were destroyed by the storm.

Rain and floods spawned by Paeng resulted in production losses of 32,934.38 metric tons of rice, corn and other high-value crops.

The storm also destroyed poultry, livestock, fishery and agricultural infrastructure.

Rice recorded the largest amount of loss with P694.77 million followed by aquaculture with P621.90 million.

Corn logged P42.99 million in losses; livestock and poultry, P23.53 million; high-value crops, P10.52 million, and sugarcane, P4.92 million.

The region’s irrigation system also incurred damage amounting to P50 million.

The province of Capiz was hit hardest in terms of agriculture with P745.3 million.

Tagged as the country’s seafood capital, Capiz’s aquaculture sector incurred P408-million damage.

Iloilo recorded P328-million damage to agriculture; Negros Occidental, P227 million; Antique, P199.8 million; Aklan, P16 million, and Guimaras, P4 million.

James Earl Ogatis, information officer of the DA regional office, said Paeng displaced an estimated 38,978 farmers and fishermen. – Jennifer Rendon

Date: 07-Nov-2022