Department of Agriculture distributes fertilizer vouchers to some 1, 187 farmers in Aborlan under the Rice Resiliency Project II on March 27. || Photo from DA PRES / DA RFO MIMAROPA

Some 25,955 Palaweño farmers will receive vouchers from the fertilizer distribution project of the Department of Agriculture (DA) under the Rice Resiliency Project II (RRP II) for the 2020-2021 dry cropping season that would help the production growth at the provincial level.

DA-MIMAROPA focal person for rice program Maria Teresa Carido said the department’s Regional Field Office (RFO) is hoping that the local government units (LGUs) of different towns in Palawan will approve its request for voucher releases in the month of April.

A sample of voucher presented by the local farmer to claim his fertilizer subsidies during the distribution of DA in the municipality of Quezon on April 7. [Photos from DA PRES / DA RFO MIMAROPA]

The RRP II will be implemented with three sub-projects namely Rice Competitive Enhancement Fund (RCEF)- Enhanced; Expanded Inbred Rice Production (Beyond RCEF areas); and Expanded Hybrid Rice Production in Suitable Areas.

“Lahat ng sub-project ay implemented ang RRP II fertilizer voucher system program. Meaning, lahat ng mga farmers na naka-receive ng seeds under RCEF enhanced, expanded inbred program, and expanded hybrid program ay may katapat na abono na iibigay sakanila thru the voucher system,” she said.

The total allocation of DA in Palawan for the program is amounting to P104, 489,000.00. The total target area in the region is 125,000 hectares (ha), while in Palawan, the target area is 14,285 has. for hybrid and 31,782 has. for inbred.

The agriculture department implemented the RRP to increase the productivity of farmers and ensure food security in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic through the provision of free seeds and fertilizer subsidies during 2020 wet cropping season.

While for 2020 to 2021 dry cropping season, DA implemented the RRP II to sustain the gains of the RRP I and to achieve at least five percent of the production growth at the provincial level. In RRP I, the agriculture department had released P50,293,825.34 worth of fertilizers for Palaweño farmers.

In Palawan, the DA RFO of MIMAROPA is set to distribute vouchers with an amount equivalent to P2,000 per hectare for inbred and P3,000 per ha for the hybrid.

DA Memorandum Order (MO) No. 52 explained that for a fraction of a hectare, the voucher shall have a fertilizer subsidy value equivalent to the landholding. The value of a half hectare for inbred will be P1,000 and P1,500 for the hybrid. However, for areas of 0.5 ha. and below, the subsidy shall automatically be set to P1,000 for inbred and P1,500 for the hybrid.

Carido added that the computation of voucher for land areas of inbred rice with 0.51 ha and above is actual area to be multiplied by P2,000, which goes like 0.75 ha x 2,000 = P1,500. For hybrid rice with 0.51 ha and above is actual area to be multiplied by P3,000, which goes like 2.5 ha x 3,000 = P7,500.

The schedule provided by Carido will start on April 5-7 for Quezon; April 12-14 for Bataraza and Dumaran; April 15-16 for Brooke’s Point and El Nido; April 19-21 for San Vicente; April 19-23 for Narra; April 22-25 for Taytay; and April 26-30 for Coron.

The funds from the National Rice Program regular funds, Bayanihan 2 Law, and RRP I spill-over cash will be utilized for the RRP II.

Farmers that will benefit from the program are those registered with the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA), while those not yet registered should coordinate with their respective LGUs to facilitate their inclusion in the registry.

The MO no. 52 stated that recipients of seed support and those who purchased or used their own seeds shall also be entitled to claim their fertilizer subsidy.

“This scheme shall allow farmer-beneficiaries to procure inorganic fertilizers at accredited fertilizer dealers, distributors, and accredited Farmers Cooperatives and Associations (FCAs) using a voucher with an amount equivalent to two thousand pesos (P2,000.00)/ha. for inbred and three thousand pesos (P3,000.00)/ha. for hybrid,” the MO stated.

DA has 40 accredited merchants, dealers, suppliers of fertilizers participating in the program for the province of Palawan

“Kahit kaninong merchant, pwedeng bumili ng abono ang farmer gamit ang voucher. For example, ang taga-Roxas ay pwedeng bumili sa merchants ng Roxas or ng Puerto Princesa City. The farmers are free to choose,” Carido explained.

She added that farmers who have received the seed component of RRP II are also those farmers who could receive the fertilizer through the voucher system from DA.

The seeds provided by DA are those National Seed Industry Council (NSIC)-registered inbred and hybrid rice seed varieties recommended for the dry season. Farmer-beneficiaries in the 2020 wet season must provide their production yield (mt/ha) before they can receive the inbred or hybrid seeds under RRP II for the 2020-2021 dry season, DA said.

The farmer-beneficiaries should personally bring the printed voucher, the reference code, QR code, or RSBSA number together with proof of identification to accredited partner fertilizer dealers, distributors or FCAs, in purchasing fertilizer.

The DA has also an incentive scheme under RRP II for provincial LGUs that can “substantially increase their production above the base level targeted under the project (5% increase in production growth per province).” The base level would be the production level during the 2019-2020 dry cropping season and incentives are in form of machineries, drying facilities, rice processing center, and warehouses.

However, Carido stated that the central office has not yet explained the mechanics of the incentive scheme and the MIMAROPA RFO is still waiting for the supplemental guidelines for the particular provision.

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is one of the senior reporters of Palawan News. She covers agriculture, business, and different feature stories. Her interests are collecting empty bottles, aesthetic earrings, and anything that is color yellow.