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Calabarzon farmers, fishers get ₧360-M aid from government

The Department of Agriculture (DA) said it distributed over P360 million worth of interventions, including cash aid and fuel subsidies, to farmers and fishers in Calabarzon.

The DA said in a statement that a total of 56,823 rice farmers from Calabarzon region received P292.648 million under the second tranche of the department’s rice farmers financial assistance (RFFA) programs.

Qualified rice farmers tilling 0.5 hectare to 2 hectares of land got a cash subsidy of P5,000 under the DA’s RFFA program, which is funded by the annual tariffs collected by the government in excess of P10 billion.

The DA also formally launched its fuel subsidy program in Los Baños, Laguna after it was halted by the election spending ban.

A total of 1,950 corn farmers received P1.35 million and 5,400 fishermen got P17.15 million in Laguna under the DA’s fuel subsidy program which grants a subsidy of P3,000 to eligible and qualified corn farmers and fishers.

The fuel subsidy given to the corn farmers and fishermen could be used in the DA’s partner petrol retail outlets—Shell, Petron, Total, Phoenix, Unioil, Seaoil, PTT, and G Little.

The DA said the provincial government of Laguna received P48-million worth of farm machinery under the department’s Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Program (RCEF) and other agricultural interventions worth P7.4 million.

“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,” Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar told the farmers and fisherfolk last May 17.

“In diversity, there is strength. And the call of the incoming administration for us is to unite. We should make the agriculture sector united—all the stakeholders—in order to uplift the sector.”

In his message to the farmer-beneficiaries, Dar said some of the DA’s current proposed programs seek to improve local food production and cushion the impact of various global economic challenges, which include Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

These programs include the implementation of a “Build, Build, Build” program in the agriculture sector and encouraging the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) to entice private sector investments that will bankroll the irrigation of about 1.1 million hectares of rice lands.

The DA added that Dar also revealed his proposal to increase the farm-gate price of palay to P20 per kilogram and hike the buffer stock of the National Food Authority to 30 days through an annual funding increase of P23 billion.

During the turn-over ceremony, the DA introduced its updated Interventions Monitoring Card (IMC) that will serve as a unique identification and transactional card where farmer-beneficiaries can receive interventions from the government.

“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.”  

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