Batac City, Ilocos Norte – Philippine Rice Research Institute of the Department of Agriculture (DA-PhilRice) station based in this town has implemented safety measures while providing seed growers easy access to registered seeds.
Dr. Reynaldo Castro, branch director, said the station maintains the practices strictly observed during the Luzon-wide Enhanced Community Quarantine to ensure that clientele’s health is not compromised as provinces in their area of coverage transition to the new normal.
“Registered seeds are the parent materials of the certified seeds, which are planted by the farmers. We need to assure that we have adequate supply of registered seeds so farmers will have ready planting materials in the coming planting season,” he said.
Now placed under General Community Quarantine, Castro said foot baths and alcohol as disinfectants are positioned at the entrance. Farmers entering the transaction office are requested to properly wear face mask. They also undergo thermal scanning while other clients wait for their service turn following physical distancing. Hairdryers are also used to sanitize money. When needed, on-call staff are available to assist seed growers with bulk purchases of registered seeds.
Nida Abrogena, coordinator of the Business Development Office, said prospective buyers are advised through phone call and text messaging on the requirements needed for safe passage from their community to outside their province.
Nelson Domingo, Pangasinan seed grower, said they were allowed to pass checkpoints by showing Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases ID pass and medical certificate. Other documents showed include certification from municipal agriculture offices and pass slips from barangay officials. Local farmer-trainers and municipal agriculture officers also accompanied seed growers from their towns.
From March 16 to April
30, the station sold 1,143 bags, mostly purchased by seed growers from
Pangasinan and Ilocos Norte.
PhilRice is the government’s lead agency on rice research and development mandated to help ensure a rice-secure Philippines. With eight stations across the country, its programs and projects are in line with the DA’s “Masaganang Ani, Mataas na Kita” battlecry. For more information about the Institute’s program, queries can be sent thru PhilRice Text Center (0917 111 7423) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.