DA TO UNVEIL NATIONAL FERTILIZER PROGRAM
AGRI CHIEF. Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol after meeting farmers at NFA regional staffhouse in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija on Monday, March 11, 2019. (Photo by Marilyn Galang)
CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija -- The Department of Agriculture (DA) is unveiling a national fertilizer program in a roll-over system, among other initiatives, to make Filipino farmers competitive as pushed for by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol made the disclosure in a brief media interview on the sidelines of his meeting with farmer leaders at the National Food Authority (NFA) regional staff house here Monday afternoon.
"We have to make them (farmers) competitive kaya nga may commitment ang Pangulong Duterte at inutusan niya ako na gumawa ng paraan upang maumpisahan 'yung (thus, there is a commitment of President Duterte and he ordered me to make way to start) the national fertilizer support program," he said.
Piñol said the government estimates the fund requirement for the fertilizer procurement at PHP30 billion.
Under the program, the government shall provide farmers with fertilizers which they will pay later.
"This is a continuing program," Piñol noted. "It will be a continuing program and we hope that the farmers will respond. Sapagkat malaking bagay yung fertilization actually. Kasi tataas ng dalawa hanggang tatlong tonelada ang produksiyon ng mga magsasaka sa kada ektarya (Actually, fertilization is a big thing because the production of the farmers will increase two up to three metric tons per hectare)."
To support the project, the government will provide farmers with a solar-powered irrigation system that can irrigate thousands of hectares of farmland, like the one being used in Israel, he said.
The government, the Agriculture chief also said, is extending loan assistance to farmers' organizations for the provision of grains drying facilities.
Meanwhile, the DA has removed the passbook being issued by the National Food Authority (NFA) as a requirement for farmers who want to sell palay to the agency, according to Piñol.
He stressed that the NFA will continue to buy locally-produced palay and sell affordable rice. (PNA)