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DA expands coverage of P500-M fuel voucher program for farmers

The Department of Agriculture (DA) has expanded the coverage of its P500-million fuel voucher program to all agricultural commodities that use farm machinery to help them cope with expensive oil prices.

The DA issued Memorandum Circular (MC) 32 that authorized the expansion of the eligible farmer-beneficiaries to all agricultural commodities under its P500-million fuel voucher program.

Previously, only corn farmers and fisherfolk were eligible to receive a P3,150 worth of fuel voucher under the DA’s fuel discount program.

MC 32 stipulated that the DA expanded the eligible farmer-beneficiaries for a “more efficient implementation” of its fuel discount program.

“The coverage of the fuel discount shall be expanded to include all agricultural commodities. The program will therefore cover all farm machinery with an attached engine that is being used for crop production as well as motorized banca,” MC 32 read.

“All farm machinery enrolled under the Program should have a proof of ownership,” it added.

MC 32 directed the Sugar Regulatory Administration, National Tobacco Administration, Philippine Coconut Authority, Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority and Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization to submit their master list of qualified recipients and corresponding machinery to the regional field offices for subsequent submission to the Bureau of Agricultural and Fisheries Engineering.

Industry groups welcomed the development, pointing out that expanding the eligible beneficiaries for the fuel discount program would help in pulling down the costs of domestic food production.

“That’s good news. All farmers of different commodities have equal right to any assistance from the government,” Danilo V. Fausto, Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. President, told the BusinessMirror.

“All of them used fuel as part of their input and the fuel voucher program will help a lot in bringing down their cost making farming a worthwhile venture,” Fausto added.

United Sugar Producers Federation President Manuel Lamata said the inclusion of the sugarcane farmers to the fuel discount program is “highly appreciated” by the industry since it has been clamoring for more government support to mitigate the impact of high fuel and fertilizer prices.

“Kudos to the President [Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.],” Lamata told the BusinessMirror. Marcos is currently serving as the concurrent agriculture chief of the country.

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