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PIA Press Release
2008/08/14

Bohol gets "Katas ng EVAT" seed subsidy

by Rey Anthony Chiu

Tagbilaran City (14 August) -- OTHER than the cheap rice, Boholanos also get part of the Katas ng EVAT in rice seed subsidies.

Here, farmers are now planting high yielding rice varieties this cropping season as the government helps tem get the costly seeds that could spell the big difference in productivity.

The government help is part of the P9-B proceeds from the 12% EVAT collections on oil.

The help also came as the country props up its seed program in the next couple of years to attain agricultural sufficiency and put food on the table of every Filipino as soon.

Local palay farmers here now queue for the National Seed Program subsidies which is implemented by the Bohol Agricultural Promotions Center and the Provincial Agriculture Office, confirms Marilyn Cubero, senior agriculturist at the Bohol Agricultural Promotions Center (BAPC).

National government seed subsidies for both certified rice and hybrid, unlike the local rice accelerated emergency response (RACER) comes with no strings attached, Provincial agriculturist Liza Quirog also bared in an interview.

To immediately fill the sagging rice productivity demand here, Bohol provincial junta recently passed a supplemental budget to fund RACER subsidies and motivate local rice growers.

RACER seed subsidy however operates on a roll over scheme, where farmer organizations pay for the subsidy after harvest.

With rice productivity scarcity felt across the country, the country's poor felt the scourge of rising stall prices, which alarmed local leaders.

While calls for more productivity echoed, Bohol agriculture promotions center experts said the dream of food sufficiency can only be assured if farmers shift to high yielding varieties, as they noted dwindling agricultural lands for palay, BAPC's Engr. Eugene Cahiles called.

Intensifying their campaigns for the shift, Cahiles said they could not sell that well with the cost of seeds of high yielding varieties.

Research shows that a sack of certified palay seeds can generate up to 120 sacks of palay or 60 sacks of milled rice.

Now with the seeds subsidized to hit food sufficiency at the earliest time Central Visayas' food basket has become a primary focus.

Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap disclosed that about P9 billion has been earmarked for the National Seed Program alone over the next two years.

He also said PGMA also allocated another P6.5 billion for the National Food Authority's intensified palay procurement program for this main harvest season.

Reports said NFA is to purchase as high as 500,000 metric tons (MT) from farmers this harvest season.

The NFA procurement target, is about 1,460% higher than the 32,044 metric tons of palay it acquired from local growers at the government support price during the same period last year, Yap said.

As this developed, BAPC authorities said they are implementing the government seed subsidy and are giving P770 for the P1200 per 40 kilogram sack of certified rice varieties. Here, the farmer needs to put up P440 to bag the seed for his farm.

On the hybrid varieties, a 20 kilogram sack would normally cost P2,900. The farmer however only pays P1400 while the government pays the P1500. (PIA) [top]

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