TYPHOONS Ondoy and Pepeng, which hit the country last year, prompted the Department of Agriculture (DA) to implement the Fertilizer Assistance Reimbursement Scheme for the benefit of rice farmers.

Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap issued the memorandum to ensure the assistance will reach the affected farmer-beneficiaries at the soonest possible time.

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During the first quarter regional rice meeting held at the Agricultural Training Center in Benguet State University (BSU) La Trinidad, Benguet last January 19 to 20 Regional GMA Rice Coordinator Doctor Danilo P. Daguio laid out the mechanics of the special program.

Daguio said the assistance is good only for master listed typhoon affected farmers who have planted from October 1, 2009 to March 15.

The memorandum states the reimbursement of the farmers' fertilizer purchases, such as Complete (14-14-14) and Urea (46-0-0), will last until May 15.

The memorandum was formulated due to the effects of the two typhoons, rendering a total loss of P21 billion in Cordillera, Ilocos and Bicol Region. This assistance will allow affected farmers to recoup whatever agricultural loses they incurred.

Meanwhile, DA-RFU-CAR Director Cesar D. Rodriguez said Yap ordered the immediate implementation of the program and payment of these fertilizers must be on a reimbursement scheme.

He also advised farmers to schedule their planting calendars so as not to be affected by any kind of destruction.

Rodriguez further added extension workers must be enthusiastic in assisting their affected clientele.

During the opening program, ARD Josephine K. Aben instructed Finance Chief Eva Magsino to make it easy for farmers to reimburse their expenditures through this fertilizer assistance.

Meanwhile, Abra OIC Provincial Agriculturist Jesus Villamor Jr. revealed that Governor Eustaquio Bersamin intends to pay the fertilizer needs of more than 1,000 affected farmers in his province.

In response, Daguio said the request would reach the secretary for approval.

Based on the farmers' master list, the DA Central Office will generate the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) to be issued to the farmer beneficiaries to be approved by the secretary together with COE Issuance Book and COE redemption Book.

Daguio said farmer beneficiaries will be entitled to the following fertilizer assistance: for area which is destroyed, a hectare will be given three bags of triple 14(complete fertilizer) and two bags urea; 750 square meter farm will receive two bags complete and one bag urea; half a hectare - one bag complete and one bag urea; and for a 250 square meter farm, a bag of complete fertilizer. (Alice Tabuno)