40T Bohol small rice farmers get P5K aid from RFFA
CORTES, Bohol, May 31 (PIA) — Around 39,278 Boholano farmers who have been tilling between half an hectare to two hectares of ricelands, received P5,000 unconditional cash assistance in time when the country’s poor and low-income families also receive their Social Amelioration Program cash aid.
Department of Agriculture (DA-7) Regional Executive Director Atty. Salvador Diputado bared that while the country’s poor and low-income families received their SAP aid, small rice farmers also get to see the realization of the government’s promises in the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Act.
The Rice Tariffication Act has imposed a 35 percent tariff on the entry of imported rice to be collected by the government.
The collection would be the fund source of programs that would boost small local farmers’ capacities to compete in the flooding of cheaper imported rice.
Owing to outdated technologies, manual labor, and other cultural factors, compared to rice production in neighboring countries, the Philippines has continued to produce rice at almost double the price that others are producing, explained DA-Agricultural Promotions Center Bohol Center Chief Roman Dabalos during the recent Kapihan sa PIA here.
Among the government’s promises for the Rice Tariffication Act is to boost local production with a series of stimulus packages and the P10-B Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).
To help small farmers, the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance is a program jointly implemented by DA and Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) in the form of a P5,000 unconditional cash assistance to farmers registered in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA), according to Diputado.
Diputado said that since the biggest rice producers in Central Visayas come from Bohol and Negros Oriental, only these two provinces are listed as among the country’s 33 rice-producing provinces eligible for the RFFA.
Initially, RFFA in Bohol targeted 53,662 small farmer beneficiaries, but with the local APC doing administrative functions, Bohol was able to pool fund sources from other areas where their accomplishments are low.
With 54,005 beneficiaries now, the government through LBP has paid some 39,278 farmer beneficiaries, Diputado reported.
This constitutes 75.2 percent of the total Bohol beneficiaries, even as LBP continues to hand out the cash grants, he added.
But even if this is an unconditional cash transfer assistance, DA-7 reminded farmers that this amount is intended to make them more competitive and help in boosting their production.
“Please allocate an amount from the assistance for seeds and fertilizers,” Diputado said, considering that that government’s package of assistance to farmers include mechanization of farm processes, seeds, skills trainings, and other bonanzas.
The DA has implemented a counter-parting scheme, which applies when a farmer buys hybrid or inbred seeds, which assure better harvests.
If a farmer buys two bags of hybrid rice seed, the government puts up three more bags of hybrid seeds as counterpart.
If he buys two bags of inbred rice, the government puts up two more bags of inbred rice for him, according to the DA-7 chief.
For the farmers to get the maximum yield, the seeds need the right fertilizer inputs, and the cash aid can help, said Diputado. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)