Food growers clamor for return of Marcos-era Masagana 99
DAGUPAN CITY –– The Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag) asked the national government to draw up a rice production program similar to the Masagana 99, which “more than doubled the country’s palay production” during the Martial Law era of deposed President Ferdinand Marcos.
In a statement, Sinag said there was a surplus of 89,000 metric tons that were exported to neighboring countries in Asia when Masagana 99 was implemented in 1975-1978.
Sinag Chair Rosendo So, also the chair of Abono Partylist group, said the farmers were then supported with high-yielding rice varieties, augmented by timely releases of fertilizers, and other farm inputs to sustain their production.
“In fact, many farmers are clamoring for the Masagana 99 program to support the agriculture industry. It could be a program that would stop the country from being dependent on rice importation,” he said.
Citing figures from former director of Bureau of Agriculture Economics Jesus Alix, So said the country attained self-sufficiency in rice production and established a 90-day buffer stock for food security purposes during crop year 1975-1976.
“There was an increase of 10-percent yield per hectare during the wet season and 25-percent increase yield per hectare during the dry season under the Masagana 99 from 1974 to 1978, as compared to pre-Masagana from 1969 to 1974,” So said, quoting figures from Alix.
So said the country was not rice import-oriented during that period, unlike today when the government frequently imports rice from other countries, notably Vietnam and Thailand.
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