Laguna farmers, fishers receive P366.5 M worth of DA assistance

Author: DA Communications Group | 18 May 2022

The Department of Agriculture (DA) distributed financial assistance, machineries, and other interventions worth P366.5 M to rice and corn farmers and fisherfolk in Los Baños, Laguna on May 17, 2022.

A total of 56,823 rice farmers from the CALABARZON Region received P292,648,750 under the second wave of the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RFFA) Program, which grants P5,000 subsidy to rice farmers tilling 0.5 to two hectares of land.

Assistant Secretary for Operations Arnel de Mesa, who also serves in concurrent capacity as the DA Regional Field Office IV-A Executive Director, introduced the Interventions Monitoring Card (IMC)—a multipurpose card that serves as a unique identification and transactional card where cash assistance for DA beneficiaries will be received.

Containing basic information such as the beneficiaries’ name, photo, QR code, RSBSA number, and e-wallet card, the IMC is expected to enhance the DA’s distribution process and ensure no leakages.

“Ngayong taon, pinaganda po namin lalo ang IMC. Magkakaroon na po yan ng EMV chip. Ibig sabihin, bukod sa puwede niyo siyang i-withdraw sa ating ka-partner sa USSC at sa mga piling financial technology partners, puwede niyo na rin siyang gamitin sa ATM para mag-withdraw ng pera,” explained Asec. de Mesa.

The DA’s Fuel Subsidy Program was also formally launched in Los Baños, providing 1,950 corn farmers (P 1.35 M) and 5,400 fishers (P 17.15 M) in Laguna with P3,000 cash subsidy each.

According to Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Region IV-A Director Sammy Malvas, fisherfolk-beneficiaries must have the physical capacity to personally appear at the Universal Storefront Services Corporation (USSC). They must also be registered in the National Program for Municipal Fisherfolk Registration (FishR) and only use legal fishing equipment and BoatR-registered motor boats not exceeding three tons.

Meanwhile, corn farmers and organizations who wish to be a beneficiary of the Fuel Subsidy Program must present their Certificate of Agricultural and Fishery Machinery and Equipment Registration from the local government, a document from the Municipal Agricultural Office certifying ownership of working agricultural machineries, sales or cast invoice official receipt of the machineries, and/or deed of donation or memorandum of agreement with the Property Transfer Receipt.

DA’s program partner petrol retail outlets include Shell, Petron, Total, Phoenix, Unioil, Seaoil, PTT, and G Little.

The Provincial Government of Laguna also received P48 M worth of machineries under the Department’s Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Program (RCEF) and other agricultural interventions from the DA amounting to P7.4 M.

In his message, Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar stressed that the DA remains strong in its commitment to enhance the country’s production of food and other agricultural products, especially at this time of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the crisis in Ukraine.

To combat a potential food crisis brought about by these global concerns, the Secretary revealed some of his proposed programs and policy directions, which include:

  • Implementing a funding scheme for the agriculture sector similar to the current administration’s Build, Build, Build Program;
  • Encouraging the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) to invite investments from the private sector to fund irrigation programs for about 1.1 M hectares of rice lands;
  • Setting the farmgate price of palay to P20;
  • Increasing the buffer stock of the National Food Authority (NFA) to 30 days with the proposed P23 B additional budget for 2023; and
  • Encouraging local government units, especially the top 20 rice producing provinces, to also practice a 30-day buffer stocking.

The DA chief also called for unity among all Filipinos and stakeholders in order to strengthen the country’s agricultural sector.

“In diversity, there is strength. And the call of the incoming administration for us is to unite. Dapat nating gawin na ang sektor ng agrikultura ay sama-sama, lahat po ng stakeholders, para maiangat po natin ang sektor ng agrikultura,” he expressed. ### (Krystelle Ymari A. Vergara, DA-AFID)

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