Gov’t sets P 20-B fertilizer subsidy to ease farmers’ burden

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The government has allocated P20 billion to subsidize the cost of fertilizers and help ease the impact of rising oil prices on local farmers.

President Duterte approved last week the measures proposed by the Department of Agriculture (DA), including the program on food security requiring P24 billion.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar also said rice farmers were excluded from fuel subsidies as they would each receive P5,000 from the excess rice tariff collections last year amounting to P8.9 billion.

Aside from the fertilizer subsidy provided under the DA’s Plant, Plant, Plant Program Part 2, P1 billion each will be allotted for urban and peri-urban agriculture, local feeds production, aquaculture and mariculture fisheries, and food mobilization.

Duterte likewise approved the realignment of the agency’s 2022 budget and expanded financing through the Land Bank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines for palay procurement and rice buffer stocking.

NIA oversight

He is also set to issue an executive order transferring the oversight of the National Irrigation Authority (NIA) back to the DA for better water management and crop scheduling and the distribution of the legislated P500-million fuel subsidy to corn farmers and fishers.

“You can really see the resoluteness of our President to help our farmers and fishers,” Dar said in a statement.

In 2020, the DA launched the Plant, Plant, Plant program to address the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic to the local food systems.

Dar said the second phase of this initiative would help address the current economic challenges that have been exacerbated by the escalating war between Russia and Ukraine.

“These challenges include the disruption of the global supply chain, high logistics costs, high fuel prices, climate change impacts, presence of transboundary diseases, and affected Philippine exports to Russia with the net result of increased food prices driving high food inflation,” he added. INQ

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