DA chief claims fertilizer subsidy to farmers already distributed to LGUs
by Ben Serrano
Butuan City (7 August) -- Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap announced on Saturday that fertilizer subsidies amounting to P250.00 per bag for two bags per hectare were already distributed to different Department of Agriculture regional offices if not already in the hands of different local government units nationwide.
Originally the subsidy in the form of discount coupons are to be presented by farmer-beneficiaries to accredited farm supply stores when buying fertilizers in the amount of P250.00 per bag but Yap admitted they made last hour adjustments since some farmers were complaining accredited farm supply stores or dealers were sometimes very far from their areas concerned or no dealers or store present in their area at all.
"Thus we suggested to farmers facing similar problems to go to different regional offices or regional field units of the Department of Agriculture in their area, surrender the coupon and will give them cash P250.00 per bag," Yap explained.
In Caraga Region alone, Yap explained, the Department of Agriculture targets 50,000 rice farmer beneficiaries with 60,400 hectares of rice lands to be planted.
DA Caraga Regional Director Ricardo Regis claimed said fertilizer subsidies were already downloaded to different local government units in Caraga Region.
When asked if safety nets were installed to ensure that said fertilizers will be used in actual rice planting and will not be used for political purposes by some LGU officials, Yap challenged newsmen, different farmers and irrigators group to be vigilant.
Yap seeks assistance from concerned media and the people to be vigilant in safeguarding billions of pesos worth of agriculture projects claiming the Arroyo administration is determined to do all in enhancing food production in the country.
Yap admitted the present administration is pouring in billions of pesos of government funds to the agriculture sector to address the looming rice crisis and ensure not only food supply security but food sufficiency to feed the growing population of the country.
Yap however assured the public that billions of pesos worth of Agriculture projects whether it maybe infrastructure, purchase of hybrid seeds and fertilizers and others are in safe hands and right procedures in bidding process followed.
Yap asked NIA and Agriculture regional directors including the government agencies' fiscal managers to be transparent on how hard earned Filipino taxpayers' money is being spent.
Yap made the assurance during press conference here recently held at the Department of Agriculture regional office here where top officials of the administration's food security and GMA rice programs were spent.
Present were OIC-NIA Administrator Carlos "Bong" Salazar who hails from Caraga Region, regional directors of the different NIA regional offices in Mindanao, regional directors of the Department of Agriculture offices in Mindanao, officials of the Bureau of Post Harvest and others.
Yap said he was making rounds at the different Department of Agriculture regional offices in the country to check how is the billions of pesos worth of agriculture projects to enhance food production is being implemented.
Salazar who once served as regional director of NIA-Caraga now OIC-Administrator of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) admitted there still more work to be done in as far as irrigation supply needs for the region.
According to NIA-Caraga statistics, total irrigated area needed for restoration/rehabilitation in Caraga Region alone that remained unserviceable or not in use is totaling to 31,170 hectares.
On a yearly basis Caraga Region has 8,921 hectares projected area damaged on a year to year basis that will be repaired beginning this year to 2012.
Out of the total 48,108 hectares irrigation service area in Caraga Region being operated and managed by NIA, only 25,859 hectares are now actually irrigated due to following reasons; deteriorated facilities (for rehabilitation), reduction of water supply at source (watershed problem), some areas were flooded during rainy season sue to poor drainage system, inadequate water supply during dry season and land conversion.
The Philippine government has allotted some P1.25B for Caraga Region's 3-year plan to repair, rehab and restore areas no longer irrigated this year to 2010 and 5-year plan to irrigate the remaining areas to be developed. (Mindanao News Courier/PIA-Caraga) [top]