DA seeks more funds for rice farmsBy Ronnel W. Domingo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Department of Agriculture is seeking an additional P200 million from the budget department to top up this year’s quick response fund (QRF), which is meant to address damage to rice farms caused by bad weather.
Acting Agriculture Undersecretary Dante S. Delima, who is also the coordinator of the national rice program, said in an interview that P500 million was allotted for this year’s QRF.
“(However), more than P200 million has been spent in the aftermath of Typhoon ‘Pablo’ earlier this year,” Delima said, referring to the destructive howler that ravaged parts of Mindanao in December 2012.
The official said there was still enough emergency rice seed supply to meet possible emergencies that would arise in the remainder of this year.
This year’s emergency seed stock is adequate for planting 400,000 hectares of rice land, or 10 percent of the estimated four million hectares planted to rice.
Delima said 40 percent of the stock was already used to replace the crop lost to Pablo. This means the remainder of the stock is enough for only 240,000 hectares.
Data from the field monitoring conducted by the DA as of Aug. 16 shows that Typhoon “Labuyo,” which hit the country early this month damaged another 12,535 hectares of rice field. This translates to a production loss of 4,677 metric tons of palay valued at P92.4 million.
According to the National Food Authority, it has released at least 934 bags of milled rice, at 50 kilos each, for distribution to victims of Labuyo in northern and Central Luzon.
That is on top of the 14,063 bags of rice given out to victims of the recent floods in Maguindanao province and Cotabato City.
In terms of stock, the NFA lost as many as 6,000 bags of palay to Labuyo, most of which were from a partially damaged warehouse in Casiguran, Aurora.
NFA Administrator Orlan A. Calayag has reiterated that the agency had enough stock accessible to victims of calamities anywhere in the country.