THE WAY FORWARD │ Level Up Philippine Agriculture!

Digital cash and food aid system for farmers, fisherfolk ready for roll-out

Author: DA Communications Group | 10 November 2020

The Department of Agriculture (DA) will launch this month its newly-developed and first of its kind e-voucher system for the efficient and transparent implementation of the Cash and Food Subsidy to Marginal Farmers and Fishers Program.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) President Emmanuel Herbosa officially signed the Memorandum of Agreement and implementing guidelines for the program on November 9, 2020.

With a budget of P4.5 billion under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or “Bayanihan 2,” almost 900,000 marginal farmers and fisherfolk in the various sectors of agriculture and fisheries will benefit from the cash and food assistance.

“We felt it was an obligation for the DA family to line up some social amelioration assistance to cover indigenous people farmers, farmers of corn, coconut, and sugarcane, and the fisherfolk, who were not included in previous amelioration programs that catered to rice farmers,” Secretary Dar said.

Eligible beneficiaries who are enrolled in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) will receive direct food (P2,000-worth of rice and chicken or egg) and cash (P3,000) assistance with a total amount of P5,000.

“I see our role here as beyond being the disbursement and settlement bank for this program. For us in DBP, it’s about reaching out to marginal farmers who are in dire need of government intervention because of the economic slowdown caused by the global health crisis,” DBP President Herbosa said.

Using the e-voucher system developed by the DA-Information and Communications Technology Service, the beneficiaries can claim the cash assistance at DBP-accredited payout centers by presenting their government-issued ID and the unique reference code sent by the implementing agencies. The food assistance, on the other hand, can be claimed at any Kadiwa supplier recognized by the DA.

Layug, DA senior adviser on information technology and farm digitalization, said that the system ensures efficient delivery of interventions, transparent monitoring, and swift generation of reports.

The implementing agencies include the DA-Corn Program, Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) for the corn, sugarcane, fisheries, and IP sub-sectors.

The new cash and food assistance program aims to aid marginal farmers and fisherfolk who were severely affected by the pandemic, provide market support to the local rice and poultry industries, and support micro, small, and medium enterprises. ### (Gumamela Bejarin, DA-AFID)

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