Abono, Cojuangco deplore delayed release of fertilizer assistance

January 21, 2010 at 9:31 am Leave a comment

By Virgilio Sar. Maganes

ROSALES- Abono chair and 5th District Rep. Mark Cojuango deplored the delayed implementation of the Department of Agriculture’s fertilizer assistance for Pangasinan farmers whose palay crops have been damaged by floods cause by tropical storm Pepeng,

In a press conference held at Chowking, Carmen West village here last January 13, Cojuangco stressed that the farmers should get back on their feet after the calamity and government should return to them their lost capital.

The press conference was also attended by DA Regional Director Cipriano Santiago and Director for Operations at DA central office Rodolfo Guieb.

“After the flood and typhoon, I requested the Abono Party List to come out with the detailed costing of capital lost per hectare of the farmers and it came out to be P12,000 per hectare. The Congress was able to pass a supplemental budget of P12 billion for the calamity stricken areas, both for typhoon Ondoy and typhoon Pepeng, but it seems that the funds are released only in Metro Manila,” Cojuangco said.

He further said that the national government should not concentrate only on resettlement areas in Metro Manila but concentrate on the farmers whose livelihood have been greatly affected.

Abono Chair Rosendo O. So said that instead of the DA importing rice from other countries, the funds should be used to subsidize the needs of the farmers.

“If the government will import 65 metric tons of rice, this will cost P10 billion. The farmers’ subsidy will only cost P800 million for the government which will produce our rice requirements,” So said.

It will be recalled that after the flood in the province, Abono, thru So, lobbied with the DA to give palay seeds and fertilizer assistance to the farmers under its “quick recovery program”.

DA assured that farmers whose crops were totally damaged shall be provided with one bag of hybrid or in-breed palay seed and five bags of fertilizer per hectare. On the other hand, partially damaged crops shall be provided with fertilizer on a “buy one, take one” scheme.

On October 22, 2009, the implementing guidelines on the “Quick Recovery Program” was crafted with full dissemination to the provincial, municipal and city agriculturists and technicians. However, the implementation of the program did not materialize. On December 14, the guidelines were revised with the “intent to fast track the provision of the fertilizer assistance to farmers”.

Last January 7, Abono Chair So received a letter from Regional Executive Director Cipriano G. Santiago which explained the delay of the fertilizer assistance to farmers.

The letter said the initial scheme of providing the fertilizers that is “in kind” did not push through because For the inorganic fertilizer, the contract between DA and the winning bidder was not signed because the latter backed out. For the urea, there were no participating bidders, hence, a failed bidding was declared.

Santiago explained during the press conference that a “reimbursement scheme” was arrived at by the DA wherein the farmers who have bought their fertilizers have until March 16to reimburse their expenses from the said agency. However, he said that the farmers should be within the master list of farmers certified under oath by the provincial, city and municipal agriculturists.

Entry filed under: News.

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