The Department of Agriculture (DA) distributed P503 million worth of Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RFFA) among rice farmers in the Western Visayas Region.
A total of 100,667 rice farmers from the provinces of Iloilo and Aklan benefited from the said program.
The Provincial Government of Iloilo received an RFFA budget of P344M, while the Aklan Provincial Government was allotted P159M.
The RFFA, a program under the Department of Agriculture (DA)’s Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), provides a P5,000-allowance to small rice farmers who work on plots of land not exceeding two hectares.
The Agriculture Secretary Willliam Dar lauded the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) for making the RCEF-RFFA possible by funding the said program with the P7.6 billion excess tariffs collected from 2019 to 2020. The amount is currently being distributed to 1.5M rice farmers all over the Philippines.
“‘Yan po ay katas galing sa Rice Tariffication Law.”
“‘Yan po ay katas galing sa Rice Tariffication Law. So ‘yong mga nagsasabi na mas maraming negatibo na outcome galing sa Rice Tariffication Law, ito po ang patunay na tumataas ang ani, tumataas ang kita, bumababa ang postharvest losses, bumababa ang cost of production per kilogram ng palay,” Dar stressed.
To easily facilitate the distribution of cash assistance, a registration booth for the Farmer’s Interventions Monitoring Card (FIMC) was opened for rice farmers in both events.
The FMIC serves as an identification card and a cash card that provides easy access to government interventions. Farmers and fisherfolk who are registered in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) may apply for the said card.
The DA, along with its attached bureaus and agencies, also turned over various agri-fishery interventions for the two provinces’ farmers and fishers.
The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) granted P1.73M to Aklan and P2.4M to Iloilo for the implementation of coconut planting and replanting and seed nursery programs under its Incentivized Coconut Planting and Replanting Project.
The Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) also handed out indemnity checks amounting to P22.1M for Ilonggo and Aklanon farmers and fishers who were affected by damages and calamities and are participating in the Free Crop Insurance Program under the RSBSA.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) turned over fishery tools, boats, and projects to select beneficiaries from the two provinces.
Meanwhile, the province of Aklan received P259M worth of infrastructure projects and trainings from the Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP), P56.5M worth of machinery from the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech), and P25M under the Agricultural Credit and Policy Council (ACPC)’s Sure Covid-19 Program.
The Provincial Government of Iloilo also received P5M from the DA National Livestock Program, through the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI)’s Community-based Swine Production through Farm Clustering and Eventual Consolidation Project.
Aspiring young agripreneurs from Region 6 were also acknowledged as provincial-level awardees for the Kabataang Agribiz Competitive Grant Assistance Program spearheaded by the DA-Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service (AMAS).
From the 60 awardees in Western Visayas, 11 are from Aklan, while 22 are from Iloilo.
Each awardee received P50,000 as starting capital for their agribusiness ventures.
In his message, the agriculture chief stressed that the DA interventions be utilized effectively and efficiently by the beneficiaries.
“Gamitin ninyo ang pera na matatanggap sa produktibong bagay, tulad ng maliliit na livelihood projects.”
“Gamitin ninyo ang pera na matatanggap sa produktibong bagay, tulad ng maliliit na livelihood projects. Nauunawaan namin ang hirap at mga hinaing ninyo. That’s why the DA and other implementing offices are working hard to make sure that our farmers and fishers will be empowered despite these trying times. Kamtin natin ang masaganang ani at mataas na kita para sa lahat,” the DA head assured.