DA to provide flood-affected farmers free seeds, crop insurance
FARMERS whose crops were damaged by floodwaters and heavy rains due to typhoons ‘Ferdie’ and ‘Gener’ and the southwest monsoon in Luzon will receive free rice seeds and crop insurance.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said flood-affected farmers will receive free seeds so they could replant, as well as free crop insurance coverage worth P10,000 per hectare.
He said the initial damage of 20,000 metric tons of palay is minimal, and could be offset by the expected harvest from 180,000 hectares that participated under the ‘early planting scheme’ of the DA in partnership with farmers served by major irrigation systems in Central Luzon and Isabela under the DA’s National Irrigation Administration (NIA).
Alcala made the assurance after he reported that the agriculture secto grew by one percent (%) during the first six months of the year.
To offset crop losses, he said the DA will encourage farmers to plant a third crop of rice immediately after the current main season.
Enough rice supply
Alcala said there is no need to import additional rice this year as there is sufficient supply. In fact, he said harvest of palay during the first six months of the year has reached 7.89 million metric tons (MT), which is 4.2% higher than last year’s 7.58 million MT. The good harvest is due to good weather and appropriate interventions by the DA through the provision of quality seeds and more irrigated areas.
The prospects are also bright for the second semester palay production, based on survey of standing crops and on farmers’ planting intentions, according to the DA’s Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS).
The DA-BAS forecasts that 3rd and 4th quarter palay production may reach 3.56 million MT, and 6.36 million MT, respectively for a total of 9.92 million MT.
In all, palay production for 2012 may reach 17.8 million MT, which would be another record harvest, and 6.7% more than last year’s output of 16.68 million MT.
Finally, Secretary Alcala said the country will start exporting premium, fancy, aromatic, heirloom and organic rice next year. He said this early “we have to explore and develop the export market for Philippine aromatic and organic rice varieties.”