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Bicol farmers receive a P400 million fertilizer subsidy.

Rice farmers in the six provinces of the Bicol region have received fertilizer subsidies totaling more than PHP400 million from the Department of Agriculture in Bicol (DA-5).

A total of PHP406.6 million in discount coupons for fertilizer were issued to 106,120 farmers throughout the wet season cropping (March 16–Sept. 15, 2022) and the dry season crops, according to Lovella Guarin, DA-5 spokesman, in an interview on Monday (Sept. 16-March 15, 2023).

55,573 farmers from Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, and Catanduanes claimed a total of PHP105.3 million in fertilizer discount vouchers for wet season cropping, while 50,547 rice farmers from Albay, Masbate, and Sorsogon claimed a total of PHP301.3 million for dry season cropping, according to Guarin.

She stated that the farmer-beneficiaries will utilize the fertilizer vouchers to purchase urea fertilizers from their favorite DA-approved dealers, distributors, and outlets.

“Qualified beneficiaries are those rice farmers registered in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA), seed beneficiaries distributed by DA and PhilRice, validated farmers who planted using their own or self-purchased seeds, and those farmers who signified their intention to plant for the covered cropping season,” she said.

The DA National Rice Program has boosted the number of fertilizer subsidies to rice farmers from PHP1,131 (for those using inbred seeds) and PHP2,262 (hybrid) to PHP6,600 per hectare, according to DA-Bicol Regional Executive Director Rodel Tornilla.

In light of the rise in fertilizer prices brought on by more demand from other nations as well as higher freight expenses, he said in a statement that the increase in the fertilizer subsidy was DA’s urgent help to rice farmers.

According to Tornilla, the aid voucher value was calculated based on the farmer’s real planted area and should not go over the size reported to the RSBSA.

A maximum voucher value of PHP13,200, or two hectares, can be given to a qualified farmer-beneficiary in order to help additional farmers, he explained.

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