Tabuk City, Kalinga – The Office of the Provincial Agricultural Services (OPAS-Kalinga) said the Department of Agriculture will soon dole out P5,000 unconditional financial assistance each to at least 13,575 rice farmers in the province either by January or February this year as the list of target beneficiaries is being updated, validated and finalized.
The cash aid is part of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund –Rice Farmers Financial Program (RCEF-RFFA) of the said agency, which provides direct cash transfers to rice farmers as a subsidy to help boost agricultural productivity in the country.
Source of fund
The fund shall be downloaded directly to the municipalities and the city. In an interview with OPAS-Kalinga this January 7, 2022, they explained that the estimated P67, 875, 000 total cash aid for Kalinga farmers is sourced out from the revenues in excess of the ten billion pesos collected by the Bureau of Customs for the year 2020. The regulation is stated under the Rice Tariffication Law whose aim is to compensate losses of local farmers which may have been caused by the tariffication.
The RTL was passed into law in February 2019. This put an end to NFA’s monopoly by removing quantitative restrictions on rice imports. The law replaced the restrictions with a 35 percent import tariff, which allowed cheap rice from abroad to be sold in the country. As a result, rice prices for consumers were reduced and stabilized.
On the other hand, the law affected many farmers due to high farm inputs but lower buying price for their palay.
Main aim of the RCEF-RFFA
“The RCEF-RFFA aims to provide cash assistance to smallholder RSBSA [Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture]-registered rice farmers tilling rice lands of two (2) hectares and below, and to provide temporary relief to eligible farmers throughout the implementation years of the RTL,” DA said in a press release.
OPAS-Kalinga said there are 12, 459 total farmers on their list, and 1,116 more are being validated by the department in different municipalities and city in the province. The validated beneficiaries will be forwarded directly to DA regional office to be added to the list.
OPAS-Kalinga hopes the grantees must utilize the financial assistance properly to buy farm inputs like fertilizers and rice seeds.
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