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Farmers in South Cotabato get P186.81M-worth of cash assistance, agri interventions

Author: DA Communications Group | 18 November 2021

Agriculture Secretary William Dar launched the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund-Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RCEF-RFFA) Program and awarded different interventions amounting to over P186.81 million for the farmers in South Cotabato Province on November 16–17, 2021.

The RCEF-RFFA will benefit the province’s 13,014 rice farmers tilling two hectares and below by providing P5,000 direct cash assistance totaling P65.07 million. In the pilot town of Tantangan, there will be 1,123 beneficiaries who will receive a total of P5.615 million.

Itong ayuda na ipinamimigay sa rice farmers ay galing sa P7.6 billion excess tariff collection in 2019 and 2020,” Secretary Dar said.

The Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) allows for the allotment of P10 billion in tariff revenues from rice imports for the RCEF, while excess collections are allocated to four national programs including the RFFA.

“Starting next year, any excess tariff out of the RTL will now be utilized to give financial assistance to rice farmers tilling two hectares and below. That will continue for the next three years,” the agri chief said as he recognized the support of the House of Representatives.

Secretary Dar added that the RTL has contributed to the country’s improving rice production leading to the record harvest of 19.4 million metric tons (MMT) in 2020. This year, the Department of Agriculture (DA) targets to set a new record of more than 20 MMT rice harvest.

Kung ang Kongreso at Senado ay tuloy-tuloy na susuportahan ang sapat na budget ng rice production natin sa bansa, tuloy-tuloy na ang pag-asenso ng ating mga rice farmers. Tuloy-tuloy na ang pag-angat ng rice sufficiency level para kukunti na lang ang rice importation,” the agri chief said.

During the event, the secretary also led the turn-over of various interventions including the P318,500-worth transplanter and rice thresher from the Rice Program and P162,280-worth upland rice seeds and vegetable seeds for the Kabuhayan at Kaunlaran ng Kababayang Katutubo (4Ks).

The Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) also awarded to different farmers’ cooperatives and associations (FCAs) three units of rice combine harvester, 10 units of four-wheel-drive tractor, and walk-behind transplanter amounting to P19.46 million.

The Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC), on the other hand, turned over cheques with a total amount of P57.8 million to lending conduits.

In addition, farmers of high-value crops in General Santos City will benefit from the farm-to-market road (FMR) projects amounting to P44 million turned over by Secretary Dar to the barangay officials and farmer-beneficiaries on November 17, 2021.

The FMR projects funded through the DA Farm-to-Market Road Development Program (FMRDP) are located in San Jose, Upper Labay, Purok 7 to Purok 20 of Barangay Mabuhay, Purok 3 of Barangay Katangawan, and in Purok 9 of Barangay Tinagacan. ### (Gumamela Celes Bejarin, DA-AFID)

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