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Agri dep’t renews push for rice farmers to cultivate other crops

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PHILIPPINE STAR/EDD GUMBAN

RICE FARMERS are being encouraged to try growing other crops like corn, onion, and garlic to raise their incomes, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.

The DA said in a recent administrative circular that the crop diversification program targets rice farmers willing to grow alternative crops with market potential.

In a mobile phone interview, Program Director Milo D. Delos Reyes said: “The crops that will be used in the program depend on the market situation and the weather in the locality… We are demonstrating to farmers that it is possible,” he added.

“Eligible beneficiaries are preferably rice cooperatives and associations or groups composed of smallholder rice farmers registered in the Registry System for Basic Sectors of Agriculture (RSBSA) and/or accredited by the DA who are willing to participate in the program and whose farms are identified by the DA regional field offices in coordination with respective local government units,” according to the circular.

The DA’s High-Value Crops Development Program will be the lead implementor of the program.

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Other participating agencies are the Bureau of Plant Industry, Bureau of Soils and Water Management, Agricultural Training Institute, and National Economic and Development Authority, among others.

The program will be funded by a portion of the excess revenue from tariffs generated by Republic Act No. 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

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