FREE SEEDS. A farmer receives free palay seeds during the distribution held at the Tabug Community Center on Thursday (June 8, 2023). The city government of Batac is distributing free palay seeds to the farmers this planting season. (Photo courtesy of the City Government of Batac)

LAOAG CITY–In time for the planting season, the city government of Batac in Ilocos Norte is again distributing free palay seeds to all registered farmers.

City government officials led by Mayor Albert D. Chua, along with personnel from the City Agriculture Office, met with farmer-beneficiaries at the Tabug Community Center to personally turn over the hybrid and inbred seeds on Thursday.

“The continuing distribution of free palay seeds is part of our efforts to help our farmers improve their productivity and enhance food security,” said Chua in an interview.

He said that this year’s priority beneficiaries include more than 2,000 farmers who have not received any other similar agricultural support before.

Chua said the beneficiaries have earlier registered with the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) for this year’s main cropping season.

The amount of seeds allotted to each eligible farmer depends on the size of the land they cultivate as recorded in the RSBSA.

Last May, a total of 6,400 farmers in the farming villages of Batac likewise received free fertilizers and hybrid vegetable seeds to boost their income.

Aside from the distribution of various agricultural inputs, the city government of Batac, in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture and the provincial government of Ilocos Norte, also distributed farm machinery and various farm utilities, including gas subsidies to farmers.

Of the 21 towns and two cities of Ilocos Norte, the city of Batac gets the most funding for farmers with over PHP200 million allotment for agriculture projects and services per year.

“We feel so lucky and blessed that the government is helping us make it through these trying times. The cost of agricultural inputs is too much,” said Sherwin Rosario, a farmer from Tabug village.

To ensure that no farmer is left behind in the grant of free palay seeds, the city government will continue to make rounds of its 43 villages to deliver government assistance closer to their homes. (PNA)