DA scraps rice seed subsidy, shifts aid to 8 programs
MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Sunday it is shifting its regular rice seed subsidy for farmers to support 8 other programs that will have a wider and long-term impact on the farm sector.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala issued a memorandum to all DA offices, saying the shift is still consistent with the DA's Agri Pinoy program geared at achieving rice self-sufficiency by 2013.
For starters, the remaining seed subsidy for 2010 worth P1.3 billion will be spent on 8 other interventions.
The bulk will be spent on irrigation, particularly in the repair and rehabilitation of communal irrigation systems through the DA's National Irrigation Administration.
The Bureau of Soils and Water Management will also construct more small-scale irrigation projects, said Alcala.
The other interventions include appropriating drying facilities such as 'solar dryers' or multi-purpose drying pavements to be provided to organized farmers' groups and LGUs to reduce postharvest losses.
Through the B7Seed production assistance, the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) will provide seed storage facilities to ensure availability of quality seeds in partnership with accredited seed growers.
Through organic fertilizer assistance, DA regional field units will establish composting facilities.
Another intervention is thorugh research and development. The DA-PhilRice, the International Rice Research Institute and other plant breeding institutions will continue the development of new as well as improvement of existing rice varieties. The new rice varieties should withstand adverse effects of climate change and resistant to emerging pests and diseases.
The other interventions are in the area of extension, education and training support; production loans and expanding marketing assistance to benefit more rice and corn farmers.