Fertilizer program to boost rice production

April 07, 2019
Emmanuel Piñol
Emmanuel Piñol

THE government’s National Fertilizer Support Program will soon start providing nine bags of fertilizer for every hectare on no-interest credit to rice farmers in irrigated areas of the country, estimated at 1.2 million hectares.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said that the DA crafted the program as a response to the directive of President Duterte to provide fertilizers to farmers.

The program which will start October this year, Piñol said, will initially cover farmers who plant rice in an estimated 4.7 million hectares every year.

The Planters Products, Inc., (PPI) a farmers’ corporation which is supervised by the DA, will implemente the program. It has already implemented a similar program with a repayment rate of 99%.

Piñol said that the PPI recently signed a Fertilizer Supply Agreement with a Dubai-based Russian company, Vigorous Alliance, which will deliver to PPI the needed volume of fertilizer on a 6-month credit.

He said  Vigorous Alliance Chief Executive Officer Merdan Gurbanov and his colleague, Lev Dengov, arrived in Manila last week following his visit and the officials of the PPI and the CIIF-OMG to Moscow two weeks ago.

Piñol explained that under the National Fertilizer Support Program, farmers who belong to the Irrigators Associations, the Small Water Impounding Projects Associations (SWISA), the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries and associations or cooperatives, will be properly identified by the Regional Offices of the DA.

The identification and validation of the rice farmers and their areas will start immediately.

“This will be undertaken in cooperation with the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), the Department of Agrarian Reform and the Local Government Units,” Piñol said.

Each validated farmer, he added, will be issued the Juan Magsasaka Identification Card which he will use in claiming his fertilizer supply.

The farmer then will get 9 bags of fertilizer recommended by the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) which will consist of four bags of urea, four bags of complete and one bag of muriate of potash.

Piñol further explained that the farmer beneficiary will automatically get an insurance coverage from the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation to ensure that if his crops are destroyed by calamities, he will be able to repay his fertilizer loan.

“The farmer will be asked to repay his fertilizer loan after harvest to enable him to avail of another round of fertilizer support for the next planting season,” Piñol said.

He also said that Gurbanov has assured the PPI that the price of fertilizer which will be sourced from Russia and other Eastern European countries will cost less than those being sold on the market and will be of better quality.

Piñol claimed that the Fertilizer Supply Deal between Vigorous Alliance and Planters Products is the major accomplishment of the DA trade and promotions trip to Moscow with the assistance from the Department of Foreign Affairs through Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos D. Sorreta.