, JANUARY 3, 2007
  (STAR) By Benny G. Enriquez - A giant green sea turtle from Matain, Subic, Zambales was reported found in Con Dao National Park of Vietnam. Scientists estimate that it traveled about 1,670 kilometers across the South China Sea to reach the waters of Vietnam. Green turtles are listed among the endangered species throughout the world. They are protected in many countries including Asian countries like the Philippines and Vietnam.

The said turtle had a metal tag with the code "PH6854" which was attached on Feb. 7, 2006 by Vedinia Bugarin, environmental management specialist of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources(DENR)- Community Environment and Natural Resources Office, Olongapo City. It accidentally entered the net of the fishermen of Matain while using a "pukot" or beach seine. The municipal government was immediately informed about it by the team of fishermen led by Henry Escultura. The find was reported to Parks and Wildlife Bureau Director Mundita S. Lim.

The finding of the green turtle was reported by Phan Hong Dung, a marine scientist who works with the Research Institute of Marine Fisheries of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, during the international exchange of biological data at the regional meeting on the progress research for stock enhancement of sea turtles on Nov. 28-29 in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia at the office of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center —Marine Fishery Resources Development and Management Department (SEAFDEC-MFRDMD).

Tagging is one of the basic methods being adopted by sea turtle biologists to gather knowledge on migratory routes, foraging grounds and reproductive biology and effective monitoring of the movements of sea turtles. The tag recovery is a timely episode in the celebration of the International Year of the Turtle, 2006 as it shows that conservation and enhancement of sea turtles in Southeast Asia can be achieved through cooperation between and among neighboring countries.

Who needs subsidy? By Dr. Sosimo Ma. Pablico The Philippine STAR 12/31/2006

Even as the subsidy for hybrid rice production is now about to end, members of the Davao Oriental Seed Producers Cooperative (Dosepco) in Banaybanay, Davao Oriental remain as aggressive as before in producing hybrid rice seeds.

Unlike other growers who have greatly reduced their area for AxR production, Dosepco members are not stymied by the phaseout of the subsidy in the 2007 wet season as dictated by the Philippine Medium Term Development Plan.

The gradual phaseout started in the 2004 wet season when the government first reduced the subsidy from P2,400 to P1,750 per bag. The producers’ cooperatives were required to sell their seeds directly to the farmers at P650 a bag (20 kg each), leaving them an income of P2,400 per bag.

The subsidy was reduced further to P1,100 a bag in the 2005-2006 dry season (November to April), and to P1,000 in the 2006 wet season. However, producers were given the option to increase their selling price to farmers.

Some growers were afraid that they would not be able to sell their harvest and, hence, many of them greatly reduced their area for hybrid rice seed production or totally stopped production and reverted to inbred seed production.

Dosepco members have maintained their previous area for hybrid rice seed production as follows: 2005 dry season, 241 ha; 2005 wet season, 280 ha; 2006 dry season, 211 ha.

Dosepco chairman Henry Lim (not the owner of SL Agritech), an Ilocano with a business acumen from Pangasinan, said Dosepco is not going to suffer from any setback provided its 17 members give him their total support. He attends meetings of production clusters, makes it a point to talk to the regional directors and rice production coordinators, and negotiates for the delivery of seeds to their respective territories.

He gives his contact numbers to almost everybody whom he meets, hoping that one of these days the fellow would call him asking for hybrid seeds. In the Visayas, he travels regularly to Regions VII (Bohol, Negros Oriental, Cebu and Siquijor) and Region VIII (Biliran, Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Southern Leyte).

Henry said his approach is very effective, as he gets to know right away the seed needs of the various production clusters. At the same time, he gets first hand feedback on the performance of their seeds.

Indeed, Henry’s strategy has been very effective as shown by the coop’s sales. In the 2005 dry season alone, Dosepco delivered to seven regions a total 10,162 bags worth P24.39 million. Deliveries made in the 2005 wet season to six regions increased by more than 60 percent to 16,829 bags worth P40.39 million.

Despite the gradual phaseout of the subsidy, Henry said they were selling briskly at P1,300 per bag in the 2006 dry season and P1,400 per bag in the 2006 wet season. With the partial subsidy, the members are still getting a total P2,400 per bag.

Dosepco members, however, can no longer increase the selling price beyond P1,400 per bag after the complete phaseout of the subsidy in 2007, knowing fully well that farmers will no longer be able to afford a much higher price.

On the other hand, the members could not also afford to sell their seeds at only P1,400 a bag. Thus, they decided that the coop should also engage in hybrid seed production so that the harvest would serve as their buffer in the marketing of seeds without sacrificing the profit of individual growers.

Henry said that for the previous wet season alone, Dosepco rented 43 ha for hybrid seed production. The rental is P25,000 a hectare plus real estate tax and irrigation fees.

Henry projected that if the coop gains P30,000 a hectare from this venture, it would have P1.29 million as a buffer per season and, therefore, the members will remain confident and bullish in producing the seeds of the public hybrids.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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