AID TO RICE FARMERS. About 20,179 rice farmers in the Caraga Region benefited from the fertilizer discount voucher program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) for 2022. DA-13 says on Wednesday (Dec. 7, 2022) PHP10.5 million worth of discount vouchers were released to the rice farmers in the region as of Nov. 15 this year. (Photo courtesy of DA-13)

BUTUAN CITY – At least 20,179 rice farmers in Caraga Region have benefited from the fertilizer discount voucher program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) this year, an official said Wednesday.

“The program aims to aid our rice farmers in increasing their productivity and ensure food security in the region,” Emmylou Presilda, the DA-13 (Caraga) information officer, said in an interview.

As of Nov. 15, the agency has released some PHP10.5 million for farmer-beneficiaries in the region.

Presilda noted that each voucher is equivalent to PHP1,131 per hectare for farms planted with inbred rice seeds, and PHP2,262 per hectare for hybrid rice seeds.

Of the total beneficiaries, 10,837 were rice farmers in areas not covered by the DA’s Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), particularly in the provinces of Surigao del Norte and Dinagat Islands.

The rest of the beneficiaries were from RCEF areas in the region which are the provinces of Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Sur, and Agusan del Norte.

Fuel discount program

Meanwhile, at least 1,302 corn farmers in the region also benefited from the fuel discount card program of the agency this year.

A budget amounting to PHP4.1 million was released by the DA-13 under the program where beneficiaries received at least PHP3,000 worth of gasoline discount payment cards.

“The fuel discount program was launched amidst the continuing effect of the pandemic, and when the prices of fuel products increased due to the Ukraine-Russia conflict,” Presilda said. (PNA)