FARMERS SUPPORT. Rice farmers in Piddig town, Ilocos Norte province receive a total of PHP9,765,000 this week from the government’s Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund. The amount benefited a total of 1,953 rice farmers. (Photo courtesy of Piddig LGU)

LAOAG CITY – Financial assistance worth PHP9,765,000 was handed to 1,953 rice farmers in Piddig, Ilocos Norte province as part of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Piddig town Mayor Georgina Guillen confirmed this on Wednesday as she expressed gratitude to the Marcos administration for prioritizing the needs of farmers and for giving them hope in the middle of a crisis.

“Thank you for the support of Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc and to the national government and other stakeholders for supporting and inspiring our farmers. Together, we shall achieve sustainable and inclusive rural development,” she said.

Farmers here said the goals of the Masagana 150 and Masagana 200 programs of the national government could be achieved given the full support in terms of farm mechanization, farm credit, and construction of irrigation systems including the provision of various agricultural inputs.

Masagana 150 targets a yield of 7.5 tons of inbred rice per hectare at a production cost of PHP8.38 per kilogram. This would translate to a net profit of PHP50,000 per hectare for farmers based on a market price of PHP27.50 per kilogram.

Meanwhile, Masagana 200 aims to produce at least 10 tons of hybrid rice per hectare at a production cost of PHP7.82 per kilogram. This would give farmers a net profit of PHP70,000 based on a market price of PHP27.50 per kilogram.

Piddig is among the pilot sites of the government’s farm consolidation program, enabling local farmers to utilize state-of-the-art machinery to reduce post-harvest losses and increase their income along the way.

The consolidated farming project covers 2,000 hectares involving 1,300 farmers. These are planted with rice, corn, and other high-value commercial crops including tobacco.

Through a public and private partnership between the municipal government and the Piddig Basi Multi-Purpose Cooperative, farmers are assured of financial assistance, farm inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides, crop insurance, machinery, post-harvest and drying services, including marketing of their products.

To create a value chain in farm production, the local government assured farmers that they will have a chance to earn profit in all stages of farming. (Leilanie Adriano, PNA)