Davao Norte farmers keen on province's fertilizer subsidy plan
by Noel Baguio
Tagum City, Davao del Norte (19 July) -- Farmer-beneficiaries were happy to learn that Gov. Rodolfo Del Rosario intends to make the fertilizer subsidy project a regular program of the provincial government.
Provincial Administrator Rufo Peligro revealed the governor's plan to the local officials and farmers during the provincial launching of the fertilizer subsidy program last July 16, 2008 at the GSP Bldg, here, where some 24,000 fertilizer discount coupons worth P6 million were released to the different municipalities.
"Let us not stop here," Peligro said, as he assured the provincial government shall continue to implement measures that aim to really improve the lot of the farmers and boost food security in the province.
He said the governor is contemplating to roll the fertilizer fund over to ensure its maximum effect in attaining food sufficiency and sustaining the growth of the rice industry in the province.
Romeo Barcenas, President of Panisia Irrigators Association in Carmen town was grateful of the governor's plan to institutionalize the program.
"This program could really benefit us farmers every cropping season," he beamed, after lamenting the farmers are bearing the impact of the unabated increase of farm inputs.
The initial distribution represents half of the P12 million fertilizer subsidy that was committed by Governor Del Rosario to the rice sufficiency program of the province. The amount is the counterpart of the province from 50 percent of its share from the monetization of its internal revenue allotment amounting to P24 million.
Rosario proposed the scheme which was eventually adopted by the League of Provinces of the Philippines, wherein the country's provincial governors have committed 50 percent of the IRA differentials amounting to P12.57 billion for food production in support to the Arroyo administration's effort to head off food shortage and for the country to achieve self-sufficiency in rice.
Under the province's fertilizer subsidy program, each coupon has a worth of P250.00 as discount for a bag of fertilizer, adding up to four coupons worth P1,000.00 as discounts for four bags of fertilizers for one hectare. This is on top of the P500 per hectare fertilizer grant that the Department of Agriculture has also earmarked to boost rice production. The DA-LGU partnership is following the fertilizer requirement ratio of 6 bags per hectare.
The program intends to cover 13,160 hectares in the highly irrigable areas of the municipalities of Asuncion, New Corella, Kapalong, Sto. Tomas, BE Dujali and Carmen. The mayors of these towns have committed a total of P4.551 milllion each to the project, which sum up 25% of their net IRA shares.
The component cities of Tagum, Panabo and the Island Garden City of Samal and the rest of the municipalities were not included under the provincial subsidy program because of lesser areas devoted to rice. They are however included in the DA's allotment.
Agriculturist Dominador Encarnacion said the coupons will be distributed to the rice farmers to meet the targets for the wet cropping season, as well as the Quick Turn Around planting in the highly irrigable areas of the province.
Encarnacion identified there are five kinds of fertilizers eligible under the program that include urea, ammonium sulfate, 14-14-14, 16-20-0, or muriat of potash.
He said the discount coupons will be presented by the farmers when they buy fertilizers from the accredited private agrivet supply outlets in Tagum City and soon in the respective towns. (PGO-ID) [top]