Monday, August 4, 2008

Fertilizer subsidy worth only P180.00 in Tabuk

By Estanislao Albano, Jr.

Tabuk City, Kalinga – With the participating farm input dealers here taking the discounted fertilizer under the government fertilizer subsidy program on credit, the actual worth of the P250.00 fertilizer subsidy coupon being given to farmers is only P180.00.

According to Betty Cawilan of the Casigayan Farm Supply in Dagupan Centro, this city, one of the four farm input outlets in the province accredited by the Department of Agriculture (DA) for the fertilizer subsidy program, she is selling a bag of urea to farmers with coupons at P2,020.00 while to those who have none, only at P1,950.

Cawilan explained that the discrepancy of P70.00 covers the difference in the price of the fertilizer which they have to take on a 30-day credit from the distributors as against the unsubsidized fertilizer which they take in cash in order for them not to lose while implementing the subsidy program.

According to Cawilan, it is necessary for them to take the subsidized fertilizer on credit because the arrangement with the DA is for the payment of the surrendered coupons with complete and properly accomplished documentation at the end of each week.

“Not many farmers understand our situation. They cannot understand that even with the difference of P70.00, their subsidized fertilizer is still cheaper by P180.00 than the unsubsidized fertilizer,” Cawilan said.

Cawilan is asking why the DA does not just give the subsidy to them in cash “so there will be no need for processing and waiting for the payment.”

Told of the reduced value of the government fertilizer subsidy coupon, Provincial Agriculturist Gerardo Jose said that he will have the reports verified.

Jose informed ZZW that some 32,756 coupons worth P8.2M has been released by the DA to Kalinga and that the provincial government is also mulling to add four more P250.00 discount coupons per hectare to the two coupons already being given by the national government.**

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