The Department of Agriculture (DA) has released guidelines on the distribution and use of biofertilizers that can replace part of the inorganic fertilizers distributed to rice farmers as inputs.
“Theoretically, a savings of more than P2,000 per hectare can be realized if the cost of biofertilizer is less than P2,000 per hectare,” said DA Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian.
The DA provides fertilizer subsidies for rice farmers under the National Rice Program, and the budget allocation and target area where biofertilizers will be used will be announced by the DA.
According to DA memorandum 32 signed on April 27, 2023, a hectare planted to rice needs two bags of urea that cost P4,000. By using biofertilizers, the cost can be halved, depending on the type of biofertilizer that the regional field office of the DA chooses.
Procurement of the biofertilizers will be done through competitive bidding, and these must be registered with the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority or the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards.
The selection of the biofertilizers will depend on the regional field offices, and they must consider the effectiveness, price, savings, local production, and the availability of personnel from the supplier to extend assistance in areas where the product is still new as the supplier will provide the instructions on the proper use of the biofertilizer.
The target beneficiaries are farmers in rice cluster areas who are members of irrigators’ associations, farmers cooperatives, and agrarian reform beneficiaries registered with the government. Farmers who have received hybrid seeds and certified seeds under the NRP or the Rice Competitive Enhancement Fund program will be prioritized.