Rice farmers in Bicol will start receiving free bags of fertilizer from the Department of Agriculture after DA Bicol Regional Executive Director Rodel P. Tornilla turned over P355 Million worth checks to the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) on March 4, 2021 at the DA 5 regional office. The DBP is the designated government bank to pay the accredited fertilizer distributors.

Tornilla said that farmers will receive their preferred inorganic fertilizer (urea or complete) at two bags per hectare for inbred rice seed planted and three bags per hectare for farmers who planted hybrid rice. “Each farmer will receive a fertilizer voucher with varying amounts which they will present to merchants or suppliers of fertilizers accredited by DA. The DA subsidized P1,000 per bag of fertilizer, so the farmer will shoulder the amount exceeding P1,000 of his preferred fertilizer,” Tornilla added.

As of this writing, a total of 28,287 farmers in Bicol are qualified to receive the vouchers.

Meanwhile, DA Bicol Regional Technical Director Luz R. Marcelino led the kick off ceremony of the Fertilizer Voucher distribution in Bicol held in the municipality of Libon, Albay on March 5, 2021. “Marami pong proseso ang pinagdaanan ng Fertilizer Voucher starting from submission of masterlist from LGU, processing, clearing at regional office and submission to DA-Info and Communication Technology Service at DA Central Office until they are ready in voucher form.” She also encouraged farmers to apply sufficient fertilizer to increase yield as researches have shown that Bicol’s soil is generally deficient in Nitrogen.

Libon Mayor Wilfredo Maronilla and Municipal Agriculturist Alejo Serrano received the fertilizer vouchers amounting to P11,445,480.00 for the 3,908 RSBSA-listed rice farmers who planted inbred or hybrid rice this cropping season.

Also present was Sto. Domingo, Albay OIC Municipal Agriculturist Dino Gregorio who received a total of P1,093,620.00 worth fertilizer vouchers for 492 rice farmers covering 375 hectares.

Marcelino said that RRP 2 is different from RRP 1 in 2020 as the farmers (under RRP 2) will not be required to present official receipts of fertilizer purchase, they just need to be registered in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA), have planted rice this dry season (Sept 16, 2020 to March 15, 2020) and have not yet received an in-kind fertilizer from DA during this cropping to qualify.

Rice Resiliency Project is one of the components of the Ahon Lahat, Pagkain Sapat kontra COVID-19 (ALPAS COVID-19) also known as Plant, Plant, Plant Program aimed to increase local rice production to combat global trade uncertainties and promote food security amidst the pandemic.

Marcelino added that Fertilizer Voucher distribution in the other five provinces of Bicol will also start. All provinces and municipalities of Bicol are included in this fertilizer subsidy program.

Marcelino added that those rice farmers who are not yet registered in the RSBSA can still avail of this subsidy as long as they complete their RSBSA registration. (Lovella P. Guarin – RAFIS DA 5 / photo credit : Eduardo Collantes, Jr. and Hermito Antonio Privaldos)