National News

What was Masagana 99? And What is Masagana 150?

Masagana 150

What was Masagana 99? And What is Masagana 150? News has been circulating that the Department of Agriculture, headed by President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ R. Marcos Jr., is eyeing the implementation of ‘Masagana 150’, a program that intends to harvest 150 cavans of rice per hectare of land. It is believed to be similar to Masagana 99, a project implemented during the reign of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos in 1973. It was to address the rice shortage problem at that time.

What was Masagana 99?

Masagana 99, conceived by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos, was launched on May 21, 1973, to address the worsening rice shortage in the country. The goal of the initiative was to strengthen rice self-sufficiency by raising the average palay crop yield from 40 cavans to 99 cavans per hectare. It also led to the use of newly developed technologies including high-yielding variety (HYV) seeds, low-cost fertilizer, and herbicides. It also introduced a supervised credit scheme, supposedly to provide funds to farmers for them to be able to avail the technology package. The Central Bank designed subsidized rediscounting facilities as a way to encourage credit institutions to give loans to farmers without collateral. (Source: Success of Masagana 99 All in Imee’s Head – UP Researchers, published on Vera Files)

The program had its initial success when the country achieved self-sufficiency from 1975 to 1976 and was able to export rice to neighboring countries from 1977 to 1978. However, the supervised credit scheme was unsustainable. The program catered to wealthy landowners and was said to leave poor farmers in debt. The program was also criticized as a ‘vehicle of political patronage’.

An article published on the University of the Philippines Los Baños website highlighted the success and failure of the Masagana 99 as taken from a UP College of Agriculture Class of 1960 webinar during the UPLB 102nd Loyalty Day where a panel of agriculturists, scientists, and personnel who were part of Masagana 99 discussed the program. Here are excerpts from the article.

“Dr. Santiago Obien, founding executive director of the Philippine Rice Research Institute and current National Rice Program senior technical adviser, said that although the program had its share of problems, it was successful in both “producing enough food at that time, and in averting some potential social problems.”

“Former Agriculture Secretary Domingo Panganiban, who was then a field-level implementer of Masagana 99, looked back at the farmers’ initial distrust of government until they realized that it was serious in helping them, especially when the agricultural technicians taught them the technologies. Panganiban said, ‘the program collapsed because they forgot about the small farmer, (and) replaced the technicians with non-agriculturists.”

“Dr. Orlando Sacay, former National Anti-Poverty Commission secretary-general who is known as the father of Philippine cooperative banking, also noted that while the Masagana 99 was good, it was not sustained and its credit program was concerning and problematic.”

“Jose Lustre, a rural banker for over fifty years, talked about the experience of rural banks under the program in his prepared speech read by webinar co-moderator Jim Leandro Cano, a teaching associate at the College of Agriculture and Food Science. Lustre said that rural banks shouldered the risk of giving loans to the farmers for the program. The collection for the repayment of those loans, he said, gradually dropped from 90% in the earlier phases of the program to 35% and lower in the latter phases, which then had severe consequences for the rural banks.”

What is Masagana 150?

In an interview with ANC last July 21, Agriculture Undersecretary Designate for Consumer and Political Affairs Kristine Evangelista reveals that they are currently studying the implementation of Masagana 150, and that the program is a recommendation of the agriculture department.

“They are putting in technology and new things to increase the yield. This is anchored on increasing the yield based on the technologies we can avail of, we have… It’s science-based the idea is to reach that much as far as cavans is concerned… We are looking how this can be implemented and when can it be implemented,”she said.

“We plant in October, we harvest it next year. To manage expectation, it’s not going to be harvested this year… But definitely if Masagana 150 will be implemented, we are looking at it as a way of bringing down the price of rice in our market, and at the same time helping our farmers come up with better yield, that increasing their income as well,” she added. (Source: ‘Masagana 150: PBBM Eyes Own Version of Dad’s Masagana 99’, published on Manila Bulletin)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.