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FROM PHILSTAR: Over P8 billion doled out to farmers from rice tariff proceeds — DOF

Author: DA Press Office | 14 June 2022

MANILA, Philippines — The government has distributed more than P8 billion in cash transfers to about one million palay farmers through excess income from rice tariffs, according to the Department of Finance (DOF).

The DOF yesterday said state-run Land Bank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines gave out P8.2 billion in direct and unconditional cash aid to rice farmers from 2019 to 2021.

Rice farmers also received cash assistance worth P5,000 each in line with the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Under Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL), revenues collected from rice tariffs should pay for the yearly requirement of P10 billion for the Rice Enhancement Competitiveness Fund (RCEF). The RCEF is allocated such an amount every year until 2024 to bankroll programs and projects raising the competitiveness and output of palay farmers.

Half of the amount at P5 billion goes to the Philippine Center for Postharvest and Mechanization for the procurement of new equipment. The RCEF also invests P3 billion in the Philippine Rice Research Institute for the propagation of inbred seeds that rice farmers can use.

The RCEF pours P1 billion in state-owned banks to finance a credit facility for palay farmers and their cooperatives, and another P1 billion in various agencies to develop mechanisms on modern farming techniques and rice crop production.

As mandated by RTL, revenues raised in excess of P10 billion will be used as cash transfers for rice farmers tilling two hectares of land or below.

To obtain cash aid, farmer-beneficiaries should be enlisted with the Registry System for the Basic Sectors in Agriculture handled by the DA.

The RTL converted the import volume cap of the Philippines on rice into tariffs, allowing traders to bring in as many bags as they want for as long as they pay the duties. Under the regime, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) collected a total of P46.6 billion in revenues from rice imports between 2019 and 2021.

Based on records, the BOC certified excess collection of P2.14 billion in 2019, P5.5 billion in 2020 and P8.9 billion in 2021. For the year, the agency has increased its revenue total from rice imports by 19 percent to P7.35 billion as of May 13, from P6.2 billion a year ago.

As the economy was opened up to imported rice, the DOF said the RTL proved to be critical in lowering the per kilo price of rice to as low as P39 in April, from a high of P46 in 2018.


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