By Madelaine B. Miraflor
The Department of Agriculture (DA) has intensified its efforts to promote hybrid rice as well as easier access to credit and financial assistance for farmers.
To meet its rice self-sufficiency target by the year 2020, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol is leading the intensified promotion of hybridization in rice.
During the opening program of the 4th National Rice Technology Forum, DA laid down four strategies to attain the sufficiency goal, which include the promotion of hybrid seeds; access to credit and loans; access to right marketing; and provision of post-harvest facilities.
Piñol said to determine which variety produces more yield per hectare, the DA will launch a rice derby contest, of which the end-result will serve as the government’s guide as to what variety to distribute to farmers.
In line with the same initiative, the Department has forged partnership with private seed companies to assist in technology transfer.
To provide easy access to credit and financial assistance, DA has also proposed to Congress the enactment of a Quick Credit Facility (QCF) that will help both farmers and fishers alike.
Under QCF, farmers may avail themselves of a P25,000 per hectare financial assistance for both farmers and fishers.
The DA, thru the Agricultural Credit and Policy Council has also launched the Survival and Recovery (SURE) Assistance Program for calamity-stricken farmers and fishers. SURE does not require collateral, has zero interest, and is payable in three years.
Meanwhile, to give producers access to market, the DA will organize rice farmers into highly-functioning organizations and assist them in setting-up farmer-owned rice outlets in key areas.