By Anna Valmero
QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA—The Department of Agriculture (DA) will provide crop insurance and free rice seeds to farmers in Luzon whose farm crops were damaged by the recent floods from the southwest monsoon and typhoons “Gener” and “Ferdie.”
Each farmer will get free seeds and a free crop insurance coverage worth P10,000 per hectare, according to Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.
Alcala allayed fears that the initial damage of 20,000 metric tons of palay is minimal and could be offset by the expected harvest from 180,000 hectares of rice farms in Central Luzon and Isabela under the “early planting scheme” of the DA and the National Irrigation Administration (NIA).
To offset crop losses, farmers are told to plant a third crop of rice immediately after the current main season.
There is no need to import additional rice this year because of sufficient supply. Palay harvest during the first six months of the year hit 7.89 million metric tons, which is 4.2 percent higher than last year’s 7.58 million metric tons.
The good harvest is due to good weather and appropriate interventions by the DA through the provision of quality seeds and more irrigated areas.
DA’s Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) also forecast a good harvest for the third and fourth quarter at 3.56 million metric tons and 6.36 million metric tons, respectively. This is equivalent to a total of 9.92 million metric tons.
The country will start exporting premium, fancy, aromatic, heirloom and organic rice next year, the DA chief said.
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