As per sources, it has been reported that the Department of Agriculture (DA) of Phillipines is pushing for the implementation of a new support program that would provide free seeds and other inputs to palay or rice farmers for two cropping seasons starting from next year. In this matter, the Agriculture Secretary Mr Emmanuel F. Piñol revealed that they are currently working on the details and arrangements for the initiative, which has been described as a top priority of the DA and the national government’s rice self-sufficiency program. Further, it was also narrated that the President Duterte gave the go-signal for the program’s implementation during their Cabinet meeting last week. It was possible to convince the President that over the next three years, the DA will support farmers for two planting seasons by providing them with free seeds and fertilizers, as it was stated by Mr Piñol, who held a consultation with farmers and fishermen here on Tuesday.
Furthermore, it was informed that he also attended the 50th foundation anniversary celebration of South Cotabato and 17th T’nalak Festival in nearby Koronadal City. Under the scheme, Piñol explained that the farmers who would avail themselves of the free seeds and fertilizers are required to deposit in a bank the equivalent amount of the inputs after the first harvest. This is to ensure that they will have money to buy seeds and other inputs they would need for the next planting season. It was also told that the program is similar to the old practice of rice farmers, where they store a portion of their harvests to serve as buffer supplies for the next planting season.