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mikey

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #45 on: April 29, 2008, 10:31:37 AM »

DA increases seed subsidy to rice farmers


By Amy R. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 10:06pm (Mla time) 04/19/2008


MANILA, Philippines -- The Department of Agriculture has increased its seed subsidy for rice farmers to caution the impact of the rising cost of seeds and to further increase rice production for 2008.

Frisco Malabanan, director of the Ginintuang Masaganang Ani program (GMA, Golden Bountiful Harvest), said that from a 50-50 seed subsidy program, the DA would provide farmers as much as P1,500 in subsidy per 40-kilogram bag of hybrid seeds; P760 per bag of certified seeds; and P440 per bag of good, quality seeds.

He said at least P1.292 billion would be invested for seed subsidies on top of location-specific interventions.

In an interview, Malabanan said that hybrid seeds have been costing at least P2,900 a bag while certified seeds cost P1,200 a bag.

Malabanan, however, clarified that the seed subsidy would not cover the whole 2.54 million hectares of rice lands that have been programmed to be planted in the coming wet season.

About 40 kilos of seeds are needed for every hectare of rice land to produce at least 4 to 4.5 metric tons.

He explained that the DA-GMA rice program would be able to provide seed subsidy to cover 120,000 hectares of land planted to hybrid seeds; around 1 million hectares to certified seeds; and 800,000 hectares to good quality seeds.

Hybrid seeds are expected to yield a conservative average of 150 cavans per hectare; certified seeds, 90 to 110 cavans; and good, quality seeds, 90 to 100 cavans.

"Those that cannot be covered by the subsidy, we will provide farmers with location specific interventions (LSIs) to increase productivity. At least P240 to P300 a hectare had been earmarked for LSIs," Malabanan said.

This meant, he said, that the DA would have to allocate at least P180 million in subsidies for hybrid seeds; P760 million for certified seeds; and P352 million for good quality seeds for the coming wet planting season alone, on top of the budget needed for LSIs.

"Of course we also have allocated budgets for other areas of rice production such as research and development, small water impounding projects and restoration of irrigation systems," he said.

He added that the DA's priority was to finish the rehabilitation of close to 400,000 hectares of irrigable lands in the country's top rice producing provinces by 2010.

According to Malabanan, they are now meeting with seed producers to provide sufficient planting materials in preparation for the dry season of 2009.

"We need to allocate at least 15,000 hectares for seed production for certified seeds alone. Each hectare is estimated to produce at least 100 bags a hectare," he said.

Earlier, Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap said he expected a record high rice yield of 8.5 million metric tons in the dry season harvest of 2009, with the help of the P5-billion subsidy recently given by the government.

Yap said this would represent a huge leap from the estimated 7 to 7.2 million metric tons harvest for this year's dry season. The dry season runs from November to April the following year.

As this developed, militant groups said on Saturday that the P50-billion loss the government would incur by importing rice and selling them at subsidized prices should be used instead to boost palay production and to buy more palay from farmers.

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas and the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas warned that the rice crisis could get worse if the government would only resort to importation to solve the shortage.

“P50 billion is P50 billion. The government should utilize public funds for domestic production and allocations of significant and productive subsidies to palay farmers, rather than proceed with its anarchy of rice importation at the expense of local producers and the tax paying public,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a statement.

Hicap said the government should instead allot at least P25 billion for the repair and construction of more irrigation systems, support funds for farm implements and fertilizers, support infrastructure such as post-harvest facilities and farm-to-market roads, and the utilization of public lands and idle lands for rice production.

KMP chair Rafael Mariano, meanwhile, cited the need for a broad alliance of farmers and consumers not just to monitor the price of rice but to protect the food security of the nation.

“At the short term, immediate price controls should be imposed on rice. NFA local palay procurement should be increased and the rice cartel should be dismantled,” Mariano said.

KMP and Pamalakaya also pressed Malacañang, and the trade and agriculture departments to roll back the prices of rice to the December 2007 levels.

With a report from Jerome Aning
 

 
 
 
« Last Edit: May 26, 2008, 09:22:23 AM by mikey »


mikey

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #46 on: May 06, 2008, 10:43:50 AM »
Thailand, Vietnam will still sell rice to RP: DA chief
 

Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap on Saturday said Vietnam and Thailand have committed to sell the Philippines its rice supplies amid reports the world’s biggest rice exporters might not participate in the Philippine tender on May 5.

Yap said a Vietnamese official told him in a letter that Vietnam would still sell rice to the Philippines but requested that the transaction be on a government-to-government basis.

"Vietnam has more than a nine percent inflation rate. So they said, if you want to buy rice from us, we will comply with our commitment. But let it be a government-to-government transaction. That is what I am taking care of right now," Yap said in an interview on Vice President Noli de Castro’s radio program "Para Sa ‘Yo Bayan."

The Department of Agriculture (DA) chief said Vietnam feared that the Philippines’ aggressive importation of rice might drive up rice prices in the world market, which would also affect the Vietnamese.

Yap said the government-to-government procurement of rice is also "favorable" for the country, noting that Vietnam assured him that the cost will be lower than the prices in the international market.

He said his office has already submitted the documents to the Government Procurement Policy Board, and he has asked Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya look into the alternative mode of procurements allowed under Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.

Yap also said Thailand, the world’s leading rice exporter, will also sell rice to the country despite reports that the Thai government would not join the Philippine tender. He said Thailand merely did not agree with private exporters requests for a sovereign guarantee.

On Friday, Yap announced that the National Food Authority (NFA) has bought enough imported rice to meet domestic demand, while the remaining tenders would go to boosting buffer stocks.

The Philippines, the world's biggest importer of rice, has bought about 1.6 million tons so far for 2008. It has set a tender of 675,000 tons next week.

The DA and the International Rice Research Institute also presented to President Arroyo a new plan that seeks to attain rice sufficiency for the country in the next three years.


mikey

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #47 on: May 26, 2008, 09:14:50 AM »
Solon urges DA to reorient programs to food security



INQUIRER.net
First Posted 11:18:00 05/21/2008


MANILA, Philippines -- A lawmaker urged the Department of Agriculture (DA) on Wednesday to reorient its agricultural programs towards guaranteeing food security.

In a statement, Palawan Representative Abraham Kahlil, House agriculture committee chairman, said the current rice crisis is not caused by shrinking production but “government’s inability to think of a program compatible with the diverse agricultural needs, implement sound programs that cater to the needs of the farmers that will help ensure the country’s long term food security.”

Mitra, with members of his committee and House Speaker Prospero Nograles, recently held a consultation in Urdaneta, Pangasinan.

Abono party-list Representative Robert Raymond Estrella backed Mitra’s observation, saying the DA should first identify the needs and capabilities of each agricultural region to avoid wasting money and support services.

“Meron kasing mga programa ang DA na madalas, hindi naman applicable sa lahat ng farmers pero ibibigay pa rin nila para lang masabing may programa silang naipiprisenta. But in the end, hindi naman napapakinabangan ng mga magsasaka, tulad ng mga water pumps. [The DA has programs, like water pumps, which are not applicable to all farmers, but the DA continues give these away just to show it is doing something. But in the end, farmers do not benefit from these programs, like the water pumps],” Estrella said.

Mitra’s committee has been going around the country on consultations as part of efforts to seek solutions to the rice crisis.

Abigail Dy, Contributor

mikey

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #48 on: May 26, 2008, 09:27:22 AM »
Greenpeace refutes DA assurance on GMO rice


By Abigail Kwok
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 15:23:00


MANILA, Philippines -- The Department of Agriculture (DA) is “uninformed” about the issue of genetically-modified organisms (GMO) in US rice imports, an international environmentalist group said Wednesday.

In a statement, Daniel Ocampo, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Sustainable Agriculture campaigner, said, “The DA was either lying or uninformed when it assured consumers that US GMO rice has the seal of approval of international food safety agencies. Contrary to the DA's claims, the GMO rice LL601 has not been approved anywhere in the world outside of the United States.”

DA issued a statement last Friday refuting the claim of Greenpeace that at least two brands of US commercial rice sold in public markets were allegedly contaminated by at least two GMO strains, one of which was LL601.

Greenpeace identified the two brands of US rice as Blue Ribbon Texas Long Grain and Rice Land Arkansas Long Grain. These brands were said to be sold in all S&R Supermarkets in Metro Manila.

However, DA said that the two brands have yet to be shipped in the country. DA also said that the GMO strain LL601 was safe for consumption as certified by the US Food and Drugs Authority (USFDA).

But Greenpeace disputed this claim.

“Greenpeace knows that there have been no findings of safety of the GMO rice LL601 by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), nor the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA), nor the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). And for the DA's own GMO regulators to claim the opposite is completely unbelievable. We are convinced this puts into question the DA's credibility, their honesty and integrity, with regard to GMO assessments," Ocampo said.

Greenpeace also questioned the DA’s “suspicious lack of transparency” in the method used for testing rice for GMA strain. Ocampo said the lateral flow method used by DA to test rice imports was unacceptable.

“Using the lateral flow or strip test to determine GMO content is not an acceptable protocol for detecting LL601 or LL62 GMO rice under both the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and European Union standards,” Ocampo said.

The environmentalist group is calling on the DA to regulate US rice imports in the country for GMO safety and to conduct a thorough testing of rice imports to ensure that they are GMO-free.

mikey

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #49 on: May 26, 2008, 09:52:08 AM »
Samak pledges rice to Philippines at 'negotiable' price
By The Nation
Published on May 24, 2008


Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej on Thursday pledged to sell rice to the Philippines at "negotiable" prices, distancing himself from his earlier proposal to create a rice cartel in Southeast Asia along the lines of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries


Philippine lawmakers were some of the strongest critics of Samak's plan, calling the idea of cashing in on high food prices inhumane. Filipinos now pay twice what they did last year for their rice.


Samak brought up the open-ended deal during talks with his host President Gloria Arroyo. He did not speak to the press. The quantity of rice to be sold to Manila was not discussed, Thai officials said.


Arroyo thanked Samak for the offer, saying it was made "in the spirit of Asean unity". Samak's visit to Manila was part of his familiarisation tour to introduce himself to Asean countries.


He was given full military honours at Malacanang Palace, where the two leaders met before attending a dinner banquet. Today, Samak is scheduled for a morning trip to a Manila market to check food prices. Protocol officers also hope to have him visit the International Rice Research Institute near Manila.


In a speech on the central island of Negros on Thursday, Arroyo said Samak's visit "will be a good opportunity to thank him for selling us rice very, very early in the day, so that now at least we have enough rice in our silos", officials said.

mikey

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #50 on: May 26, 2008, 09:54:24 AM »
More rice from Thailand
THAILAND Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej committed to export more rice to the Philippines yesterday despite an earlier announcement it would cut exports because of rising prices of the cereal, an official said yesterday.

Samak also agreed to sign a government-to-government contract with the Philippines, the world’s biggest rice importer, after his hour-long meeting with President Arroyo at the Palace, Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said.

“We thanked him for his very gracious commitment to sell rice if we would need more and that every time we would tender, they would supply,” Yap said.

“He is extending the hand of friendship and in the spirit of our brotherhood in the [Association of Southeast Asian Nations].

“He agreed to have government-to- government contracts with us with a combination scheme of last crop year and new crop. He said if we wanted only the new crop, we could do it with the private sector.”

Yap said Mrs. Arroyo was elated by Thailand’s commitment, although the government had already contracted enough rice to boost the country’s buffer stock.

The government has already contracted 1.7 million tons of rice to fill a 10-percent domestic production gap this year, but the agriculture department is still planning to import an extra 675,000 tons as buffer stock for the last quarter of the year.

“We are very open and we will take all these in consideration if and when we choose to procure from Thailand,” Yap said, noting that the Philippines had already imported 500,000 metric tons of rice from Thailand this year.

Samak will visit the wet market in Guadalupe on Friday before attending a forum of the International Rice Research Institute at the Dusit Hotel in Makati City. Joyce Pangco Pañares

mikey

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #51 on: May 26, 2008, 09:56:25 AM »

DA regional officials ordered to link up with SUCs
Manila (23 May) -- Secretary Arthur Yap of the Department of Agriculture has given marching orders to DA regional executive directors (REDs) to link up right away with State Universities and Colleges (SUCS) and work on collaborative agricultural extension services for farmers and fisherfolk in pursuit not just of the rice self-sufficiency program but of other food security initiatives as well.

In a Pasig City consultative meeting with heads of 40 SUCs nationwide, Yap underscored the importance for these educational institutions to help deliver vital extension services in the countryside, more so now that the Department is carrying out a first-ever rice self-sufficiency plan that covers all of the country's over 4 million hectares of palay fields and involves local government unit executives plus devolved agricultural technicians now under LGUs.

"A close partnership between the DA and SUCs is very important not only in further raising productivity in palay and other agricultural commodities, but also in ensuring greater profitability for Philippine agriculture's stakeholders, especially the small farmers and fisherfolk," Yap said during the DA-SUC Collaborative Service Consultative Forum at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel in Pasig City.

Yap said the REDs should get in touch at once with LGU executives in their areas of jurisdiction in order to form provincial teams headed by the governors and composed of, among others, representatives from SUCs and other concerned sectors who will come up with specific productivity programs for palay and other crops that are tailor-fit to their respective regions and provinces.

About 170 officials of 40 SUCs attended the daylong forum at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel on Wednesday.

Among those who attended the meeting were Chancellors Luis Rey Velasco of the University of the Philippines Los Banos, Laguna and Glenn Aguilar of UP Visayas in Iloilo; and presidents Ruben Sevilleja of the Central Luzon State University, Rogelio Colting of the Benguet State University, Miriam Pascua of the Mariano Marcos State University, Romeo Quilang of the Isabela State University, Honorio Soriano Jr. of the Pampanga Agricultural College, Olivia De Leon of the University of Rizal System, Marito Bernales of the Camarines Sur State Agricultural College, Benny Palma of the Aklan State University, Pablo Subong Jr. of the West Visayas State University, Macapado Muslim of the Mindanao State University, Joel Limson of the Northern Iloilo Polytechnic State College, Victor Navarra of the Polytechnique State College of Antique, and Ruperto Sangalang of the Cavite State University.

Yap said the DA needs active partners like the SUCs to bring down new technologies to farmers, especially those in the 49 priority provinces that are envisioned under the Rice Self-Sufficiency Plan of 2008-2010 to deliver about 92% of total harvests over the next five planting seasons.

After President Arroyo unveiled her P43.7-billion initiative for Philippine agriculture dubbed FIELDS (Fertilizers, Irrigation and other rural infrastructure, Education and training for farmers, Loans, Dryers and other postharvest facilities and Seeds of the high-yielding varieties), the DA forged at the Century Park Hotel on May 13 an agreement with governors assigning their devolved agricultural extension workers to the DA for the duration of the rice self-sufficiency program.

Yap told the SUC officials that this Memorandum of Agreement with the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) will provide the DA with the critical assistance it needs at the field level to carry out this sufficiency program, which the Department is implementing in tandem with the International Rice Research Institute.

During the Century Park Hotel meeting, 37 governors led by LPP president Loreto Ocampos, who is governor of Misamis occidental, had also committed to funnel a portion of their soon-to-be monetized P12.5 billion-share of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) for the effective implementation of this grand program that aims to make the country approach self-sufficiency by 2010.

The governors agreed to set aside a portion of their upcoming IRA allocations for the acquisition of fertilizers and other production inputs to be used for the ongoing Quick Turnaround (QTA) Program and for the wet or main planting season.

Yap said this self-sufficiency plan is similar to past intensified rice production programs because it focuses too on irrigation, technology, extension services and credit support for our farmers, but is unique in terms of scope, advances in current rice technology, funding commitment and management approach.

Because the DA's self-sufficiency blueprint applies the "clustering approach" in lieu of being carried out on a large, yet unfocused scale, Yap stressed that the support of governors as "provincial rice champions" along with SUCs behind this grand plan will prove indispensable over the program span of five planting seasons. (These are the wet or main crops this year and in 2009, the dry crops next year and in 2010, and one QTA program inserted between next year's dry and wet crops.)

Yap said that as provincial rice champions, the country's governors should encourage their mayors to develop and implement their own rice self-sufficiency programs to provide focus and direction for each province to produce enough rice for their constituents throughout the year.

SUCs, he said, will prove indispensable in crafting these rice self-sufficiency programs at the local level because their scientists can help determine which technologies can best be applied by farmers in specific provinces or municipalities in order to spell substantial increases in their yields.

This rice self-sufficiency plan was drawn up by the DA with the assistance of seven ex-DA secretaries and two former science secretaries; one former DA undersecretary and two former administrators of the National Food Authority; scientists from IRRI, UP Los Banos and the Philippine Rice Research Institute; and experts from advocacy groups like the National Academy of Science and Technology and Sikap-Strive Foundation. (PIA) [top]

mikey

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #52 on: December 05, 2008, 05:30:41 AM »
Rainfed Elite Rice Lines Spreading Fast in Cotabato
Many farmers in Cotabato City are getting interested in growing raelines, or rainfed advanced elite rice lines, and it’s not surprising to know why.

First of all, these eight crosses between PSB Rc14 and Matatag lines are moderate non-shattering, have good grain quality, and are drought-tolerant.

Guialuson Datumanong of Datu Shariff in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Cotabato City who has been planting raelines since 2006, shares that despite of drought and saline problems, he has harvested 110 55-kilogram sacks per hectare from Raeline 3 or PR 33382-25-1-1B-B.

Like Datumanong, thirty-four-year-old Dennis Aguha is also very pleased with the performance of raclines for he has harvested more than 50 sacks at 42 to 45 kg per hectare despite of drought.
Unlike traditional varieties such Burdagol, B3, and Masipag which mature at four months after planting, Datumanong said that raelines mature at three months after planting, and perhaps this is why he has observed that more farmers are now planting Raelines 3 and 4 (PR33481-B-1-B-B) and PSB Rc82 than Masipag rice.

He also said that raelines are easier to apply with pesticides because these are not growing as high as five feet like Burdagol, the lodging-prone variety he was using before.

Aside from being drought-tolerant and early maturing, Jonathan Niones. study leader of Rice. Variety Development for Rainfed Lowland Drought submergence and Waterlogged Prone Sub-ecosystems in Mindanao, said that these are also resistant to rice tungro virus and BLB.

On the other hand, Reynaldo Clarete. agricultural technologist in Cotabato City, said that raelines are also soft, have good eating quality, and similar to PSB Rc18.

Today, Clarete adds, approximately 200 hectares in Cotabato are planted to raelines, while in 2005, these are only planted in the one-hectare demonstration site of Phil Rice-M idsayap Plant Breeding team where the local government of Cotabato first witnessed its good performance.

Due to this, the local government supported PhilRice in promoting these lines by giving each farmer-beneficiary 20-kilogram bag of seeds and requiring them to return the same amount after harvest which would be given to other farmers.

The 2006 survey conducted by the Plant Breeding Unit of PhilRice-Midsayap shows that the cooked form of Raeline 3, which is also planted in Lambayong in Sultan Kudarat, Aleosan and Matalam in North Cotabato. Datu Piang in Maguindanao, and in some parts of North Upi had 70 percent acceptability.

On the otherhand, Raeline 8(PR3338225-1-3-B-B), which is also planted in Aleosan and Libungan in North Cotabato, almost got 90 percent acceptability, while PSB Rc14 only got 10 percent acceptability. The study also shows that 80 percent of farmers who tried growing raelines preferred Raeline 3.

Despite of the good performance of raelines, these are only sold at P9.50 per kilo while the Masipag lines are sold at P10; this is why the local government is now looking at the possibility of including raelines in the Masipag lines.


 

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