Masaganang Agrikultura, Maunlad na Ekonomiya!

DA, LGU chiefs continue strong partnership vs. ASF, high fertilizer prices 

Author: DA Press Office | 24 February 2022

Agriculture Secretary William Dar met with local government unit (LGU) chiefs and their representatives to discuss plans of actions to contain the incidence of African Swine Fever (ASF) and temper high fertilizer prices.

In a meeting with the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) and Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) on February 24, 2022, Secretary Dar highlighted various interventions extended by the Department of Agriculture (DA) to alleviate the impacts of the two major concerns.

To help farmers from high prices of fertilizers, he said that as of February 2022, the DA has distributed 669,942 bags of fertilizers to 207,394 farmers in Regions 4A, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and Cordillera Administrative Region.

He added that the assistance will be continued this year in the form of discount vouchers, with inbred rice farmers receiving P1,131 per hectare, and hybrid rice farmers getting vouchers worth P2,262 per hectare.

Further, the DA through its Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA) has conducted bilateral discussions with fertilizer manufacturing firms in several countries to supply major fertilizer grades. The Department will also massively promote balanced fertilization strategy and the intensified use of the Rice Crop Manager Advisory (RCMAS), a digital agriculture support tool for farmers.

“We will also capacitate federations of farmers’ cooperatives and associations (FCAs) so they could import fertilizers directly,” Secretary Dar said.

In addition, the DA through its regional field offices (RFOs) and Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) will establish nationwide 1,000 composting facilities, worth P950 million.

ULAP National President Dakila Carlo Cua, who is also the Governor of Quirino Province, recommended enhancing fertilizer production among LGUs.

“Maybe it’s time, for a long-term program, to plant the seeds of collaboration on fertilizer production among the DA as lead agency, DOST, state universities and colleges, and provincial LGUs,” Cua said.

The DA chief also renewed its commitment to reducing ASF incidence — in partnership with LGUs, swine raisers” groups and veterinary associations — which as of February 17, 2022 has gone down to 20 barangays in four municipalities in three provinces. This is a huge reduction from a high of 3,657 barangays in 678 cities and municipalities, in 51 provinces, since 2019.

To sustain the joint DA-LGU efforts, Secretary Dar called anew for the passage and implementation of either an ordinance or an executive order institutionalizing the Bantay ASF sa Barangay (BABay ASF). As of February 17, 2022, 42 provinces have crafted and approved said policy, particularly in implementing strict biosecurity measures.

Coupled with the BABay ASF program, the DA implements a hog repopulation program, called the Integrated National Swine Production Initiatives for Recovery and Expansion (INSPIRE), where in 2021 a P400-M budget was allocated to provide 14,571 sentinel pigs to 5,638 farmer-beneficiaries. It also provided insurance worth P6.5 M, covering 193,884 piglets raised by farmers in September 2021.

This year, the DA has a P2.97-billion budget to implement the hog repopulation program through the Community-Based Swine Production and Expansion through Clustering and Consolidation.

The Department is also partnering with private groups to speed up the repopulation program. Among them are Charoen Pokphand Foods Philippines Corporation, CJ Philippines and JG Agroventures, Inc.

Commercial and clustered backyard hog raisers can borrow loans for their respective swine breeding and fattening enterprises from the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines, as they set aside P30B and P12B, respectively, for such ventures.

For his part, LPP National President and Marinduque Gov. Presbitero Velasco, Jr., extended full support to the recommendations of Secretary Dar to conduct ASF risk assessment, surveillance, and monitoring. He also lauded the developments on the loans and insurances provided to affected hog raisers.

“Rest assured that the LPP will fully support whatever strategies you want to implement,” Velasco said.

To conclude, Secretary Dar called for a unified collaboration among all Filipino farmers and the members of ULAP, LPP, and LGUs.

Sana magtulong-tulong po tayo para ma-sustain po natin ang gains natin fighting ASF at ma-sustain ang ating record harvest sa rice,” Dar appealed.

Along with Governors Cua and Velasco, of ULAP and LPP, respectively, former Ilocos Sur Governor and incumbent Narvacan Mayor Luis “Chavit” Singson, was in attendance, as president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP). ### (Krystelle Ymari A. Vergara, DA-AFID)

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