SAN AGUSTIN, PILI, CAMARINES SUR – As a measure to cushion the adverse effect of dry spell  now affecting  our farmers, the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office No. 5 led by RED Elena B. de los Santos distributed 47 units of Pump Irrigation System for Open Source (PISOS) and 3 units of Shallow Tube Wells to some 50 farmer beneficiaries from the provinces of Albay, Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte and Sorsogon. The PISOS was worth P3.9 million and the shallow tube wells was worth P193,191.00

The distribution was held at the covered court at the DA Compound on March 18, 2019.

These initial beneficiaries included individual farmers, registered farmers’ organizations and irrigators associations.

In the light of the forthcoming implementation of the Rice Liberalization, Director de los Santos urged the farmer recipients to support the National Food Authority by selling a portion of their harvested palay to the latter. The NFA is currently buying at P17.00 plus P3.70 incentive (for drying and delivery) per kilo of dried palay. It also accepts fresh palay at P14.00/kilo plus P3.70 incentive.

Director de los Santos also said that to support the NFA in buying palay from the local farmers, the DA will lend its trucks, warehouses and Multipurpose Drying Pavement (MPDP) to the NFA during harvest time. The DA will also coordinate with the 37 Rice Processing Centers established by the DA all over the region if they can accommodate the palay bought by the NFA in their areas.

She also announced that in the subsequent distribution of farm machineries and equipment to farmers, one of the requirements will be a certification from the NFA that the farmer has sold his/her palay in the last cropping season. “Ang mga Magsasaka at kooperatiba o samahan ng magsasaka na maraming naipagbiling palay sa NFA, ay makakatanggap ng mas malalaking interventions mula sa DA,” Dr. De los Santos announced.

Eduardo Pacamara, Chairperson of the Bagong Silang Organic Farmers’ Association of Del Gallego, Camarines Sur was one of the recipients of the PISOS. The association which was organized in 2014 has at present over 40 members who are mostly rice farmers. “Hindi na kayang patubigan ng irigasyon ang aming 45 ektaryang palayan kaya kami ay humingi ng tulong sa DA.” Meron din kaming higit 10 ektaryang sahud-ulan. Maganda itong Rice Tarrification dahil malaki ang suporta sa aming magsasaka at madali naming matanggap ang aming mga request, tulad ngayon,” Pacamara enthused.

Director de los Santos said that these initial interventions were funded from the savings generated from the procurement through public bidding under Rice Program in CY 2018. While the approval of the GAA is still pending, the DA as well as other government agencies cannot yet disbursed fund for current year. As of this writing, the total agricultural area damaged by the dry spell is 8,331.48 hectares in the provinces of Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Albay and Masbate valued at Php 282,670,914.55. Based on the initial reports submitted most of the areas affected were at their reproductive stage with a total of 7,275 farmers affected.  (Lovella P. Guarin/ photo by Eduardo Collantes, Jr.)