Rice seed program targets farmers tilling 1.8M hectares

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said it hopes to distribute inbred and hybrid seed to farmers tilling 1.8 million hectares (ha) across 15 regions, to provide relief from high input costs.

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

More than P6.4 million worth of seed has been distributed to farmers tilling 582,780 ha, according to Agriculture Assistant Secretary for Operations Arnel V. de Mesa.

“NRP has dispensed P5.32 million worth of hybrid seed and P1.11 million worth of certified seed to eligible farmer-beneficiaries this year,” he added.

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

The program is available to rice farmers in the agriculture registry, with incentives for farmers using high-yield seed.

“We give vouchers amounting to P1,131 for every hectare planted with inbred (seed), and P2,262 for every hectare planted with hybrid,” he added.

Mr. De Mesa said that beneficiaries may also claim various types of fertilizer and bio-stimulants.

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

To date, 176,394 vouchers worth P285 million have been generated, according to the DA.

The NRP has also been distributing and promoting the use of Nitrogen-fixing bio-fertilizer, which can reduce fertilizer use by 25% to 50% while maintaining yield performance.

“Except 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