The Department of Agriculture has allotted close to P100 million in funds for the implementation of the Third Cropping Program of the government launched on September 11, 2012, in Barangay Bagroy, Bago City, Negros Occidental.

The program, an initiative between DA, the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) and the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), covers a total area of 91,495 hectares (ha) benefiting over 91,000 farmers.

“It aims to provide free insurance and seed subsidy to farmers nationwide who are scheduled to plant from August to September, and harvest by the end of the year,” Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala announced.

“This program seeks to assist farmers affected by severe crop damages caused by flooding, typhoon and pests attack,” he said.

According to PCIC President Atty. Jovy Bernabe, the insurance cover is worth a total of P914,950,000, with P98.91M premium subsidy coming from the government.

“Under the program, farmer-irrigators who will engage in third cropping will be provided P10,000 per ha. free insurance coverage by the PCIC,” Bernabe added.

Secretary Alcala stressed that the program complements the efforts of the government to achieve the rice self-sufficiency target.

Rice imports have significantly dropped from 860,000 metric tons last year to 500,000MT this year because of the vigilant campaign and aggressive action plan of DA towards a more productive and self-sufficient farm sector across the country.

Part of DA’s strategy is modernizing the agriculture sector by implementing the On-Farm Mechanization and Postharvest Program. In fact, while in Negros Occidental he awarded a total of P43,191,200 project grants to the farmers and irrigators’ associations of the province which consists of eight units of flatbed dryers and a Multi-Purpose Drying facility.

Alcala also distributed 30 units of hand tractors, six units of rice transplanter, 10 units of rice thresher and a combine rice harvester to the Farmers and Irrigators of Small Water Impounding System Associations of the province and gave away laminated sacks, collapsible drying case, steel plows and cacao and coffee seedlings.

The Secretary also committed full support in the establishment of a rice processing center in the province.

At present, Alcala is on his second round of visiting the farthest communities of the Philippines in an effort to bring the programs of the government closer to the people.

“The government is with you in all your agri-endeavours, kaisa nyo po kami sa pagtupad ng inyong mga pangarap” he said explaining that he is visiting the province for the third time to bring the farmers closer to the government.

While in the province, Alcala also awarded a P2.4 million check to the Social Work and Development department’s Cash for Work Program – Pantawid sa Pamilyang Pilipino (CFW-PPP).

According to DSWD Regional Director Minda Brigoli, the CFW restores irrigation facilities by employing DSWD identified laborers coming from the poorest of the poor household. The amount, she added, will provide additional income to 879 families in Western Visayas, who will work for the rehabilitation of 667 has. of irrigation areas and construction of 33,955 meters of canal. – (Oda Rodriguez)

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala (2nd from left) leads the launching of the DA-NIA-PCIC Third Cropping Program at Bagroy, Bago City, Negros Occidental on September 11, 2012. The program, to be implemented thru a partnership between the DA, the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation, the National Irrigation Administration and irrigation associations, gives rice crops protection insurance and incentives to marginalized farmers who will plant from August to September in line with the DA’s rice self-sufficiency target before the end of 2013. The 3rd Cropping Program covers 91,495 hectares and will benefit over 91,000 farmers. With Alcala are NIA Administrator Antonio Nangel, PCIC President Atty. Jovy C. Bernabe and PCIC Director David M. Villanueva. (photo by Jose Lucas)