As the planting of palay for the dry season is about to peak this November, the Department of Agriculture (DA) Western Visayas is now disseminating the new guidelines in the implementation of the Rice Resiliency Project (RRP) 2 to ensure smooth and timely distribution of farm inputs to the qualified beneficiaries. Thus, DA Regional Executive Director Remelyn R. Recoter explained the key provisions of the Project to rice farmers of Sebaste, Antique on October 29.

The RRP 1, implemented in the last wet cropping season, seeks to boost the local palay production as a way of ensuring food adequacy amid a global health crisis. Based on the monitoring data of DA, the said rice project yielded a positive result to the production performance of farmers who received seeds and fertilizer inputs.

According to DA Secretary William D. Dar, the threat of hunger is as real as the COVID-19 pandemic, thus the agency intensifies its efforts to ensure food security.

In the two Bayanihan Acts, the RRP is being prioritized in order to increase the local production so the government will not solely depend on rice importation.

“The pandemic has affected all nations including the rice exporting countries like Vietnam and Thailand. These nations will also ensure enough supply of rice for their populace, thus, may not be able to export rice to the Philippines if COVID-19 will still continue,” said Recoter.

The Bayanihan Act 2 signed recently by President Rodrigo Duterte has provided funds for the RRP 2 covering 2,022,033 hectares of rice areas in 16 regions nationwide.

Same as RRP 1, the RRP 2 for the dry cropping season will provide inputs to farmers under the three subprojects –the Enhanced Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), Expanded Inbred, and Expanded Hybrid.

Recoter said that RRP 2 will sustain the gains of the RRP 1 and will spur at least five percent growth in the palay production at the provincial level.

DA will likewise provide incentives such as farm machines, drying facilities, processing centers, and warehouses to the provincial government that can surpass the target of a five percent increase from the production in the previous dry season.

Fertilizers under the RRP 2 will be provided as a subsidy to farmers without requiring them to present an official receipt.

The main reason why only 70 percent of the fertilizer allocation in Western Visayas was claimed by farmers because many of them cannot afford to buy fertilizer as their counterpart requirement under RRP 1. Some farmers cannot provide official receipts as their farming expenses are provided by financiers, and traders, according to Recoter.

Farmer-beneficiaries listed in the DA’s Registry System for the Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) will be given vouchers equivalent to ₱2,000 per hectare for inbred and ₱3,000 per hectare for hybrid production. The fertilizer allocation for every farmer will depend on their landholding as validated and endorsed by their Municipal Agriculture Offices. Beneficiaries will have to present the vouchers to claim their fertilizer subsidies from accredited dealers in every municipality.

Distributors, retailers, or farmers cooperatives who are interested to become accredited fertilizer dealers for RRP 2 are advised to send a letter of intent to the agency.

As for the seeds distribution, the same guidelines last wet season will be adopted in the RRP 2 implementation.

Undistributed seeds during the wet season which are still viable based on the updated germination tests can still be given to farmers this dry season particularly to those who intend to plant early, as stated in the guideline.

Recoter lauded the support of Sebaste Mayor Gaseva Recopuerto and Vice Mayor Christine Dionela to the RRP 2 implementation as they pledged to campaign the project to their farming constituents.

RRP is one of the stimulus programs of DA under the Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat Kontra COVID-19 or the Plant, Plant, Plant Program.

For more information, visit the Department of Agriculture (DA) Western Visayas.