Six top rice-producing provinces in the country allotted an initial combined P1.6-billion fund to bankroll their direct engagement in the rice industry value chain – from palay-buying, drying, milling to rice marketing.
These are Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan.
William Dar, secretary of the Department of Agriculture (DA) said with the buying price of palay at 14% moisture content set at P17 per kilo, these six provinces could procure roughly 91,176 metric tons (MT) of palay from farmers this wet season harvest.
Using the current national palay harvest average of roughly four MT per hectare, the P1.6 billion additional fund from the six provinces would benefit 27,000 small rice farmers, he added.
Dar said Isabela is allotting P450 million, Pangasinan, P300 million;
Nueva Ecija, P250 million and Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur and La Union, committed P200 million each.
Meanwhile, DA also awarded P1.2-billion worth of agri-fishery interventions to Ilocano farmers and fisherfolk.
Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur were awarded P287 million and P173 million worth of project assistance, respectively while La Union received P121 million and Pangasinan got P628 million worth of agri-fishery interventions.
The assistance included farm machineries, irrigation facilities, seeds, and extension and training services for rice, corn, high-value crops, livestock, organic agriculture, and fisheries programs.
Dar had a series of consultations in these provinces over the weekend.