DA debunks claims of anomaly in distribution of fertilizers, seeds to farmers up north

Published August 16, 2021, 12:42 PM

by Betheena Unite

The Department of Agriculture (DA) said it has “achieved a high distribution rate” of free fertilizers and inbred and hybrid seeds to farmers intended for the 2020-2021 dry season, contrary to claims that the project was anomalous.

(Photo courtesy of the Department of Agriculture)

In a statement late Sunday, August 15, the DA stressed that thousands of farmers from three provinces in Luzon have already availed of free fertilizers and seeds.

“Contrary to recent malicious and unfounded allegations made by leaders of a civil society organization and a farmers’ group, we achieved a high distribution rate of 98 percent among rice farmers — particularly in Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, and Isabela — who availed of free fertilizers under our Rice Resiliency Project 2 (RRP2) for the 2020-2021 dry crop season,” DA Secretary William Dar said.

“Such performance clearly refutes the misleading information peddled by the two complainants, who said that the distribution of fertilizers to rice farmers funded under ‘Bayanihan 2’ was anomalous,” Dar underscored.

The secretary reported that for Ilocos Norte, they achieved a 97.8 percent accomplishment rate, which translates to 21,114 claimed fertilizer vouchers out of the total 21,744; 98.2 percent for Ilocos Sur (13,187 claimed out of 13,504 vouchers); and 98.3 percent in Isabela (48,279 claimed out of 49,371 fertilizer vouchers).

DA Ilocos Region Director Nestor Domenden said that as per records, 78,200 rice farmers from Ilocos Sur and 78,129 rice farmers from Ilocos Norte were listed in the Farmers and Fisherfolk Registry System (FFRS) as submitted by their respective local government units (LGUs).

Of the total, only 14,543 farmers in Ilocos Sur and 26,927 farmers in Ilocos Norte qualified for the e-voucher fertilizer reimbursement for the dry season of 2020-2021, “as they were the ones who actually planted, based on the validation made by the Municipal Agriculture Offices in said provinces.”

Domenden also said that some farmers were not able to claim their fertilizers due to varying reasons beyond the control of the department.

“To set the record straight, the RRP2 covered only selected rice areas under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), and non-RCEF areas planted to inbred and hybrid seeds under the DA national rice program (NRP), covering a total of 2,022,033 hectares, in 15 regions and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARRM),” the secretary noted.

“The RRP2 did not cover all rice areas and farmers in the country, and thus similarly not all farmers in Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, and Isabela are included in the program, as maliciously mentioned by a farmer-leader in Pangasinan,” said Dar.

Under the RRP2 fertilizer subsidy guidelines, only those farmers in specified RCEF and non-RCEF areas who planted during the 2020-2021 dry season were qualified to receive free fertilizers. They should also be listed in the farmer’s registry or RSBSA.

Those who planted inbred seeds were able to avail of two bags of fertilizers per hectare or P2,000 in the form of vouchers, and those who planted hybrid were given three bags per hectare or P3,000 worth of vouchers.