Sikat Saka program of Department of Agriculture

A farmer in North Cotabato, who was a beneficiary of the “Sikat Saka” program of the Department of Agriculture in Central Mindanao, has harvested about 129 sacks of palay, a feat among farmers in the province, the DA said.

Romeo Declarador, a farmer in Tulunan, North Cotabato, could hardly believed his one and a half hectares of rice field could yield 129 sacks of palay, about 40 percent higher than his previous harvest per 1.5 hectare.

“Thanks to DA Sikat Saka program,” Declarador said.

“Sikat Saka” is an agricultural credit assistance program of DA in cooperation with the Land Bank of the Philippines which help small time farmers increase productivity.

Declarador is a member of the Amyon Irrigators Association and one of the beneficiaries of P300,000 loan assistance given to irrigators association.

Since he only enrolled 1.5 hectares, he was only eligible to a P50,000 loan which he used as farm input expenses.

On Monday, Declarador brought 116 sacks of palay to the National Food Authority in Kidapawan City. He used the other 10 sacks as payment for the loan package.

NFA sent haulers and vehicles in bringing Declarador’s palay to the warehouse so he was spared of transportation and other expenses.

NFA-North Cotabato manager Fernando Nunez said the 116 sacks earned Declarador P102,000.

The farmer could have earned more had he had enough time to dry the palay because its moisture content was 32 percent at the time it was picked-up by NFA.

Nunez said NFA personnel accompanied Declarador in paying Land Bank with P52,245 or equivalent of 10 sacks as payment for his loan of P50,000 or a P2,245 interest for four months.

According to Declarador, had they loaned from loan sharks or middle men, he would have end up with less than P100,000 earnings.

Nunez said he expects the program to grow because it will ensure buffer stocks of palay.

NFA is ensuring buffer stocks to prevent shortage of rice in the country during emergency situation or during rainy season.

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