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Department of Agriculture, PhilRice Back Laurel, Batangas Rice Farmers through RCEF

Through the Department of Agriculture (DA) and PhilRice’s Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), rice farmers nationwide are given planting and farming materials during the planting seasons of May (wet season) and December (dry season).

As part of CaLaBaRZon’s rice cluster, farmers from Laurel, Batangas are provided organic and inorganic fertilizers, inbred and hybrid varieties of rice seeds, and foliar and soil ameliorants.

The municipality of Laurel is a host to irrigated and upland (rain-fed) rice fields covering a total of 130 hectares.

“Hindi tayo masyadong naapektuhan ng El Nino,” Laurel Municipal Agriculturist Ann Mirjam Atienza said in an interview with “But unfortunately, the volcanic smog did.”

According to, the sulfuric acid droplets in vog have the corrosive properties of dilute battery acid. When vog mixes directly with moisture on the leaves of plants it can cause severe chemical burns, which can damage or kill the plants. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas can also diffuse through leaves and dissolve to form acidic conditions within plant tissue.

“Maapektuhan talaga yung ability nilang mag-reproduce ng palay.”

To counter the severe effect of this unfortunate natural phenomenon to local farmers, the municipality offers a crop insurance program. “In preparation for calamities and risks, meron silang mapagkukuhanan.” With a quarter hectare, farmers can apply for the said insurance program.

These types of programs are especially helpful to small towns like Laurel. ” At least yung mga pangangailangan ng mga farmers sa production like seeds ay hindi na nila pinoproblema,” Atienza furthers.

The Local Government Unit of Laurel has been under RCEF since 2021 and has since established multiple farmer organizations spread out in barangays within the municipality. “This is good for proper coordination and cooperation as we hope that Laurel continues to be a beneficiary of the program.”

About Joel James Cubillas

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