In a bid to boost rice production in the province of Apayao, the Department of Agriculture-Cordillera (DA-CAR), through its Rice Program, initiated the distribution of Fertilizer Discount Vouchers (FDVs) in the municipalities of Conner, Luna, Calanasan, Kabugao, Pudtol, and Sta. Marcela from July 17 to 21.
The FDVs are designed to provide rice farmers with discounted access to fertilizers from accredited merchants. This enables farmers to improve their rice yields and overall productivity.
During the five-day program, DA-CAR distributed 7,321 FDVs out of 8,123 allocated for Apayao in the 2023 wet season. This initiative amounts to over P22 million, resulting in an impressive overall accomplishment rate of 93 percent.
Accredited merchants, including VS Laungayan Farm Supply, Ybulo Farm Supply, Kintoman Farm Supply, and Wanay Poultry and Agricultural Supply, signified to supply the farmers with urea (46-0-0) and “complete” (14-14-14) fertilizers.
Apart from FDVs, the DA-CAR also rolled out Intervention Monitoring Cards (IMCs) to farmers tilling less than two-hectare farms.
The IMC serves as an ATM card, which also doubles as an identification card, where the P5,000 Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund-Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RCEF-RFFA) will be deposited.
As of July 31, 8,497 Apayao rice farmers have already received their IMCs. While most farmers have claimed their IMCs, there are still 507 unclaimed cards. DA-CAR plans to redistribute these cards in future activities to ensure all eligible farmers can access financial assistance.
The IMC is expected to enhance the DA’s distribution process of the RCEF-RFFA, which aims to provide temporary relief to rice farmers throughout the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law.
As the initiatives continue to show positive results, it is expected that Apayao’s rice farmers will be better equipped to navigate the challenges of modern agriculture, contributing significantly to the growth of the region’s rice industry.
With this, Perlita Bungag from Conner expressed her gratitude to DA-CAR for giving them extra fertilizer, as it will help them improve their overall livelihood.
“Makaparagsak ta dakkel ti naitulong na kadakami nga farmer. Kasi nu awan ti tulong da, karkaro ti rigat ti farmer,” Bungag said.
(I am happy because this is such a big help for us farmers. Without this assistance, our difficulties would get worse.)
Likewise, Ronnie Pacis from Kabugao also shared what he will do with the RCEF-RFFA financial assistance.
“Daytoy naawat ko, usaren ko pang-eskwela ti ubing ko. Nu adda ti masobra, igatang ko ti feeds nga ipakan ko ti tilapia. Dayta ti pang-ususarak, saan ko nga insugal,” Pacis said. (I will use the cash assistance to support my child’s education. If there’s any extra money, I will buy additional tilapia feeds. I only spend the money on these specific purposes and never use it for gambling). By JBPeralta