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DA extends support to corn farmers

ISABELA, Oct. 30 -- The Department of Agriculture (DA) will provide assistance for corn farmers, particularly in areas not frequented by weather disturbances to better help ensure supply of the grain while easing the pressure on rice. Echague Isabela

“We’ll urge farmers to plant more [corn] as well as provide them seeds and fertilizer for the purpose,” said DA Secretary Proceso Alcala.

DA is continuously promoting production of corn nationwide so this staple grain can be increasingly available, helping reduce demand for rice nationwide.

Alcala cited Mindanao as being ideal for the post-harvest investments, noting conditions there are conducive to producing corn since the area is not along the typhoon belt.

“Mindanao’s a good source of corn,” he said.

He noted having post-harvest facilities there can help facilitate handling and transport of corn to target markets.

Such facilities helped spare corn farmers in northern Luzon’s Isabela province from incurring significant production losses due to successive onslaught of typhoons ‘Pedring’ and ‘Quiel’ there this year.

Alcala reported such farmers were able to bring their wet corn to private post-harvest facilities there for drying and processing, readying the grain for proper storage of up to two years.

“What’s good is farmers there can already harvest during rainy weather without having to worry about drying their produce along roadsides,” he said.

To help farmers recover from onslaught of ‘Pedring’ and ‘Quiel,’ DA earlier mounted several quick turn-around interventions.

Such interventions include providing certified seeds so farmers can plant these to replace destroyed crops.

“For farmers whose crops have no chance of recovery, we’re giving 100 percent subsidy while those with crops that can still recover receive 50-percent subsidy,” Alcala reiterated.

He noted DA’s total subsidy is PhP1,200 worth of certified seeds.

DA’s partial subsidy is certified seeds worth PhP600, he added.

Other quick turn-around interventions DA previously set are early release of Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation payments for the affected farmers, repairing damaged irrigation facilities and implementing the ‘Plant Now, Pay Later’ scheme with the private sector’s cooperation and assistance.

by Jerome Carlo R. Paunan
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