PPI Ventures Into Seed Distribution
Thursday, May 27, 2010

To give farmers access to low-cost but high-yielding corn seeds, Planters Products, Inc. (PPI) has entered into an agreement with Advanta Seeds, the fourth largest seed producer in the world.

NSIC Certification had already been issued to four hybrid seed varieties, namely PA 555, PAC 999, PAC 224 and PAC 984.

Advanta is one of the world's leading seed producers. It was established in 1996 as the seed firms: Royal Vanderhave Group, based in the Netherlands, and Zeneca Seeds, based in the United Kingdom.

Because of the good results from the planting of the said hybrid corn seeds with a nongovernment (NGO) organization in Isabela, PPI will start trial in three more towns of that province: Reina Mercedes, Cabagan and San Pablo.

PPI also has plans of venturing into hybrid rice seeds distribution, with eight varieties of hybrid rice being tested by the Philippine Rice Research Institute in Nueva Ecija.

"Once the initial testing will be completed, we will be seeing Planters Products participating more in the food security program of the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo," said Ramon B. Santos, PPI President.

The usual practice of usurious traders, who enjoy access to banks lending at 16% per annum, is to supply farm inputs to farmers at marked-up prices. The traders charge an additional 5 to 7% per month on the farm inputs for a total of 20 to 35% interest over a five-month cropping cycle.

However, the farmers are required to sell all their harvests to the supplying trader, who in turn classify the good dry grains as skin dry which command a lower price. The traders then sell the misclassified grains to end-users at a higher price.

Farmers who sell their harvest in whole or in part to other persons or entities are either charged with estafa or are no longer assisted by the traders in the next cropping cycle.
The project aims to make participating farmers not dependent on usurious traders, and eventually make them capable and independent agribusiness entrepreneurs.

"It is high time that the unproductive ties between small farmers and usurious traders be broken, and this can only be done if farmers are transformed into capable businessmen in the agriculture sector," said Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman.