DA to use satellite imaging on farms to improve crop insurance

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 9, 2020   •   401

The Department of Agriculture (DA) seeks to launch a program that would use satellite technology to improve crop insurance in the country.

Based on a Memorandum of Agreement signed on Monday (June 8), the program would provide satellite images for several crop farms in Nueva Ecija, Iloilo, and North Cotabato.

The project, with the initial funding support of P5 million, targets to provide satellite imaging for the 100,000 hectares planted with rice and 40,000 hectares planted with various crops within six months.

According to DA Secretary Willam Dar, the program aims to provide farmers with direct and targeted assistance to improve their productivity.

“The traditional source of information which relies heavily on fieldwork will be insufficient in the country. As we modernize our agriculture sector, we must continuously explore for relevant technology to increase sufficiency and productivity,” Dar said.

The program will also improve the DA’s disaster response, Dar added.

The MOA signing was witnessed by the Agriculture Secretary and Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) President Atty. Jovy Bernabe. –AAC

Mababang presyo ng palay dahil sa rice tariffication law, itinanggi ng DA

Robie de Guzman   •   October 5, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Mariing pinabulaanan ng Department of Agriculture ang alegasyon ng ilang grupo ng mga magsasaka hinggil sa umano’y pagbaba ng presyo ng palay dahil sa ipinatutupad na Rice Tariffication Law.

Una nang nanawagan ang grupong Federation of Free Farmers sa Kongreso na imbestigahan ang pagpapatupad ng Rice Tariffication Law dahil sa naging epekto nito sa presyuhan ng palay.

Ayon sa grupo, bumaba sa P11 hanggang P13  kada kilo ang presyo ng basang palay habang nasa P14 hanggang P17 naman ang halaga ng tuyong palay.

Anila, ito ay dahil umano sa hindi kontroladong importasyon ng bigas at walang kasiguruhan sa polisiya ng kagawaran.

Ngunit ayon kay Agriculture Secretary William Dar, walang katotohanan at  ‘exaggerated’ lang ang alegasyon ng ilang grupo at ilang dating opisyal ng kagawaran.

Aniya, paraan lang ito upang maisulong ang kanilang panukalang amiyendahan ang mga probisyon ng rice tariffication law.

“The interest groups, along with former DA officials, have exaggerated data on palay to push for the amendment or repeal of the RTL (rice tariffication law). They are resurrecting old arguments against RTL,” ang wika ni Dar.

Batay aniya sa survey ng Philippine Rice Information System (PRISM) na isinagawa mula Setyembre 16-30, 2020, nasa P18 kada kilo ang average na presyo ng palay sa Central Luzon habang P19 naman sa Cagayan Valley.

Ang dalawang rehiyon ang nangunguna sa produksyon ng palay sa bansa na katumbas ng 31.5 percent ng total harvest noong 2019.

Sa ulat naman ng Philippine Statistics Authoroty, lumalabas na nasa P17.12 kada kilo naman ang farmgate price ng palay sa huling dalawang linggo ng Setyembre – mas mataas kumpara sa P16.18 kada kilo na presyo sa kaparehong panahon noong 2019.

Ayon kay Dar, ang mga nasabing survey ay nagpapakita lamang ng totoong presyo ng palay na taliwas sa sinasabi ng ilang grupo.

“Makikita dito na hindi nagkakalayo ang data na ginagamit ng gobyerno, and definitely the reality is, hindi kasing baba ang presyo ng palay as interest groups claim on social media,” ang wika ni Dar.

Tiniyak naman ni Dar na nakahanda ang National Food Authority na bilhin ang palay na ibinibenta ng mga magsasaka sa halagang P19 kada kilo na nasa mga bodega at buying stations sa bansa. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)

DA urges LGUs, private sector anew to buy palay, corn directly from local farmers

Robie de Guzman   •   October 1, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Thursday renewed its appeal to local government units (LGU) and the private sector to buy palay and corn directly from farmers to prop up prices as harvest season peaks.

In a statement, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said LGUs and the grains industry stakeholders will have to “step in” and purchase directly through negotiated contracts with the farmers’ cooperatives and associations (FCA) since the National Food Authority’s (NFA) palay procurement is limited to buffer stocking for calamities and emergencies

“The LGU- and private sector-led palay and corn buying will complement efforts of the Department of Agriculture through the National Food Authority to buy as much as possible from rice farmers using its 2020 P10-billion procurement fund,” Dar said.

“This should be part of the ‘new normal,’ where LGUs are taking a more pro-active stance by directly buying farmers’ produce — be these rice, corn, vegetables, chicken, eggs, fish and other farm and fishery products — at reasonable prices, and then including them in their food packs for their constituents,” he added.

The Agriculture chief said the NFA has also been directed to “roll-over twice its procurement fund so it could buy P20 billion-worth of palay this year.”

Further, he said provincial governments can avail of loans from the Land Bank of the Philippines (LandBank) of up to P2 billion at two percent interest to procure palay, and acquire farm machineries and postharvest facilities.

This harvest season, the DA said it wrote the governors of the top 12 rice-producing provinces to once again buy palay from their farmers.

The DA chief likewise called on the private sector, particularly those in the grains industry, to engage in long-term contract-growing and marketing agreement with farmers’ groups to buy rice for their employees and clientele as part of their corporate social responsibility.

Dar also asked the NFA to make available its warehouses for use by farmers’ cooperatives and associations (FCAs) and LGUs.

“We will accelerate the modernization of the NFA’s drying and milling facilities so they could provide much-needed services for the benefit of our rice farmers,” he added.

PH begins exporting okra to Japan as new normal starts

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 1, 2020

The Department of Agriculture (DA) led the initial shipment of two tons of okra or ladyfinger to Japan on Tuesday (September 29).

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said around 300 farmers were involved in the production of the export-grade okra products that were harvested from different farms in 14 barangays of Tarlac.

Jelfarm Fresh Produce Enterprise, one of the country’s leading okra exporters, will be shipping about five tons daily as the harvest season begins and it will increase to an average of 13–15 tons everyday during peak season.

 “It’s a win-win arrangement because the farmers planting these are getting higher levels of income compared to rice,” Dar said.

Jeffrey Fernandez of Jelfarm said they are looking for alternative livelihoods for farmers who are suffering from unstable palay prices throughout the year. Fernandez said okra farmers can harvest 500 kilograms up to one ton of okra per hectare for 75 days straight and earn a net income of P80,000 – P120,000.

“It’s a fast turnaround crop, high-yielding crop, and a good source of income for the farmers,” he said. AAC

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