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Production assistance for IFOIGAP rice released

THE National Tobacco Administration distributed rice production assistance amounting to P27.6 million to tobacco farmers in tobacco-growing provinces for the Rice Wet Season 2017 under the agency's Integrated Farming and Other Income-Generating Activities Project (IFOIGAP).

A total of 2,769 farmers representing an aggregate area of 1,974 hectares availed of said production assistance to plant rice this wet season, according to the farm plan and budget consolidated by the Farm Technology and Services Department.

The assistance, at P20,000 per hectare, will cover the amount to purchase certified seeds, tractor/animal rental for land preparation, fuel for irrigation, and organic and inorganic fertilizers.

The rice production assistance, which was started by the agency in 1999, aims to develop the tobacco farmer as a "total farmer" doing "total farming" and that he should be efficient in tobacco and rice farming, among others.

Qualified farmers are those registered with the NTA through a tobacco-rice farm, which must have an adequate source of irrigation water.

In Region 2, Administrator Robert L. Seares led the distribution of production assistance to tobacco farmers in his first visit to Cagayan and Isabela as head of the agency.

Administrator Seares, assisted by Cagayan Branch Manager Dr. Corazon R. Riazonda and NTA Regulation Department division chiefs, Atty. Rohbert A. Ambros and Engr. Alex L. Borje, distributed production assistance to 106 farmer-cooperators, through their cluster leaders at the Branch Office in Tuguegarao City on June 14.

Manager Riazonda gave a brief orientation on the project, which is now in its third year of implementation in the Cagayan Branch. This year's total coverage of 82 hectares has almost doubled the coverage of its initial year of implementation, crop year 2014-2015, at 46 hectares.

"The branch office had a collection efficiency of 100% for the past three implementations of the project," said Riazonda.

A brief program, hosted by Chief Agriculturist Gilbert A. Taguiam, was held before the distribution. Farmers' forum with the Administrator followed after the ceremony, with Robert F. Pedro, Agriculturist I, as moderator.

Administrator Seares, along with Atty. Ambros, Engr. Borje, and Isabela Branch Manager Herman C. Torres, led the distribution of production assistance to tobacco farmers at the Branch Office in Brgy. OsmeƱa, Ilagan City on June 15.

The Isabela Branch distributed production assistance to 238 farmer-cooperators, through their cluster leaders. A brief program, hosted by Chief Agriculturist Joefrey T. Bautista, was held before the distribution. Farmers' forum with the Administrator followed with Bautista as moderator.

Before this, Administrator Seares and Ilocos Norte Branch Manager Mario E. Corpuz, led the distribution of production assistance to 321 farmer-cooperators at the Branch Office in Batac City on June 13.

Meanwhile, Deputy Administrator for Operations Atty. Mel John I. Verzosa led the distribution of production assistance and orientation seminar on IFOIGAP-Rice in the two branch offices in Ilocos Sur on June 16.

Atty. Verzosa joined Branch Manager Minerva P. Mizal in awarding production assistance to 312 farmer cooperators of the first district in the Branch Office in Bantay, Ilocos Sur, and later in the Candon Branch in Candon City where he was assisted by Branch Manager Estrella G. De Peralta in handing over production assistance to 636 farmer cooperators in the second district.

It was Abra Branch Office's turn on June 19 where Administrator Seares, along with Abra Branch Manager Esmeralda G. Valera, awarded production assistance to 210 farmer cooperators.

On June 20, Administrator Seares and Atty. Verzosa met with the Branch Office staff of NTA La Union headed by Branch Manager Dr. Giovanni B. Palabay and farmer cooperators for the awarding of assistance at the Branch Office in Bauang, La Union, and later, with NTA Pangasinan, headed by Branch Manager Engr. Cesario G. Sambrana, and their farmer-cooperators at the Branch Office in Rosales Pangasinan.

Production assistance amounting to P5.08 million were distributed to 583 farmer cooperators in La Union, while P3.74 million for 353 farmer cooperators in Pangasinan.