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More fertilizer discount vouchers will soon be distributed to farmer beneficiaries to ensure the timely availability of the needed fertilizer for rice production.

In a news release Sunday, Malacañang said the Department of Agriculture (DA) issued a memorandum updating the guidelines on the implementation of a fertilizer discount voucher project under the National Rice Program.

Under Memorandum Order 65, the fertilizer discount voucher covers regions that are planted with inbred and hybrid rice seeds except for the National Capital Region (NCR) and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

The fertilizer discount voucher is to cushion the potential impacts of under application of urea fertilizer to palay production and ensure food security.

“The DA shall provide fertilizer vouchers to eligible beneficiaries which will be used in acquiring urea fertilizers. 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 area,” the order read.

“A supplemental fund sourced from an unprogrammed regular agency fund, over and above the 2022 General Appropriations Act (GAA) budget has been released to enable rice farmers to meet the recommended urea fertilizer thereby, securing rice production in the country. This fund shall be used by beneficiaries as a discount on the retail price of urea fertilizers,” it added.

To determine the voucher value per cropping season, the DA said the amount or fund source is divided into the number of hectares to be served under the project as a complementation to the inbred and hybrid seed distribution program of the rice program.

The 2022 Wet Season implementation is funded under the 2022 GAA while the 2022-2023 Dry Season implementation will be funded under the 2022 GAA and the unprogrammed funds.

For 2022 Wet Season cropping, the fertilizer vouchers will be used by the farmer-beneficiaries to claim the inorganic fertilizers, organic fertilizers, foliar fertilizers, biological fertilizers or biological stimulants at accredited merchants.

The discount voucher will have a value equivalent to PHP1,131 per hectare for inbred, and PHP2,262 per hectare for a hybrid.

For the Dry Season 2022-2023, the project aims to enable rice farmers to supplement the requirement for urea fertilizer for their rice production; to mitigate the impacts of the projected decline in production due to low usage of urea fertilizer and attain the target yield of 4.22 metric tons per hectare of palay for 2023, and to stabilize the rice supply situation in the country despite challenges in the price of commercial fertilizers.

Discount vouchers are for one-time use only and may be claimed at any accredited fertilizer merchants in the preferred area of the farmer-beneficiaries, according to the DA.

However, the discount voucher value will be computed based on the rice farm area for the 2022-2023 Dry Cropping Season.

Based on data from the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority, the average price of urea (prilled) per 50-kilogram bag is PHP2,523 and PHP2,490 for urea (granular) from Oct. 24 to 28.

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

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