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Masagana 150, Masagana 200 rice programs to be launched in October — DA

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s "Masagana 150" and "Masagana 200" rice programs will be launched later this year, an official of the Department of Agriculture (DA) said Tuesday.

“By October, we will be launching Masagana 150 and Masagana 200,” DA Assistant Secretary Arnel de Mesa said at the Post-State of the Nation Address Economic Briefing in Pasay City.

Earlier this month, Marcos, who is also the concurrent Agriculture Secretary, called for the operationalization of the Masagana 150 and Masagana 200 proposals by former DA chief William Dar.

Masagana 150 would yield 7.5 tons of inbred rice per hectare at a production cost of P8.38 per kilogram.

This would translate to a net profit of P50,000 per hectare for farmers based on a market price of P27.50 per kilogram.

Masagana 200 aims to yield 10 tons of hybrid rice per hectare at a production cost of P7.82 per kilogram. This would give farmers a net of P70,000 based on a market price of P27.50 per kilogram.

In a chance interview with reporters, De Mesa said the Masagana programs would initially be funded by the DA’s P15-billion National Rice Program and the P10-billion Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund, a mandated appropriation under the Rice Tariffication Law that aims to improve the competitiveness of rice farmers following the liberalization of the rice industry.

He said that the DA is also requesting an additional P4 billion for the programs.

"We have an existing budget. We can complement it. We requested the President for a supplemental budget for additional inputs for seeds and fertilizers,” de Mesa said.

The DA official said the agency aims to cover three million hectares of agricultural land for the Masagana programs.

“For now, we’ll start it by phase, so we’ll start this year to see what areas we can cover. We’ll start with areas with good yield, with irrigation facilities,” he said.

The Masagana proposals are based on Masagana 99, which was implemented by Marcos’ father—the late President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.—and which was initiated to achieve rice self-sufficiency in the Philippines.

This was done through planting the  "Miracle Rice" promoted by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), which could reportedly yield 99 sacks of rice per hectare.

The program, however, was discontinued due to issues regarding the credit subsidy component.

During a Senate hearing attended by the President's sister, Senator Imee Marcos, in May 2020, then Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III—who served as Agriculture Secretary under former President Corazon Aquino—brought up the program's issues.

Dominguez said that he was among those that needed to clean up the mess brought about by the program since 800 rural banks were bankrupted by it. —VBL, GMA News