Masaganang Agrikultura, Maunlad na Ekonomiya!

FROM THE MANILA TIMES: P8.2-billion cash aid given to rice farmers

Author: DA Press Office | 15 June 2022

THE Land Bank of the Philippines (LandBank) and the Development of the Philippines (DBP) have facilitated the distribution of over P8.2 billion for the P5,000 in direct and unconditional cash aid each to over 1 million qualified small palay (unmilled rice) farmers from 2019 to 2021, according to data from the Department of Agriculture (DA).

The two state financial institutions distributed the cash aid as part of the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance Program of the DA under the RTL or Republic Act (RA) 11203. Farmer beneficiaries receiving the P5,000 cash aid should be registered in the Registry System for the Basic Sectors in Agriculture.

Under RA 11203, rice import tariffs in excess of the P10 billion earmarked annually for the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) could be used to provide financial assistance to palay growers, among other possible options. The law also mandated that all rice tariffs in excess of P10 billion must be used solely for financial assistance until 2024 to farmers each tilling 2 hectares (ha) or below.

“The Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) has achieved its dual goal of bringing down retail rice prices while helping farmers improve productivity through the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF),” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd said.

DA data show that since the implementation of RCEF, more than 1 million rice farmers have received over 8.7 million bags of certified inbred rice seeds, which are proven to be higher yielding than traditional home-saved seeds. Over 830,000 ha of palay farms nationwide are now yielding more grains than before, according to the Agriculture department. With RCEF, 950,000 farmers now enjoy access to 19,542 units of farm machinery equipment.

Over 90,000 farmers have benefited from 4,978 batches of training sessions. Also, 14,459 specialists, trainers and extension intermediaries have also received training on palay farming. Some 220 farm schools have been established since the implementation of RCEF, bringing the total to 470, while 49,649 rice farmers have accessed over P1.5-billion worth of loans from the LandBank and DBP as part of the credit component of RCEF.

The windfall of financial resources for agricultural modernization under the RTL is a complete reversal of the P11-billion average annual tax subsidies that the government provided for over a decade to fund the National Food Authority (NFA), which used to import rice.

With the implementation of the RTL, the role of the NFA has been limited to ensuring emergency rice stocks which are exclusively procured from local palay growers.


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