The Department of Agriculture is allotting nearly P200 million to build and replenish community seed banks (CSBs) all over the country to guarantee that farmers will have enough rice seeds every cropping season.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said the DA has earmarked P192 million for the seed production program to produce the required certified seeds every planting season.
Alcala said this should encourage organized farmers’ groups and cooperatives, including Irrigators’ Associations (IAs), to produce their own certified or inbred rice seeds out of the registered rice seeds that will be distributed to them for free.
Dante Delima, who is in charge of the rice program, said the strategy is more efficient and cheaper to the government and farmers in the long run than providing rice subsidy every cropping season.
Of the total program fund, P42 million is allotted this year for the procurement and distribution of registered rice seeds, and the P150 million is programmed next year for the establishment of CSBs in strategic rice production areas nationwide.
Of the P150 million, P100 million will be used to repair and refurbish existing storage facilities and warehouses managed by IAs, farmers’ groups, POs and NGOs, while the remaining P50 million is allotted to repair existing DA warehouses and storage facilities which will also be used as CSBs.
Delima said the DA is currently distributing for free two kilos of registered rice seeds per hectare to qualified and participating farmers’ groups, cooperatives and IAs in major rice producing regions nationwide.
The two kilos of registered seeds could produce six 40-kilo bags of certified seeds. This is enough for at least four cropping seasons, Delima said.
Continue reading at Inquirer.net