DAVAO CITY – Some 2,951 qualified rice farmers in Cateel, Davao Oriental, received cash assistance from the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund-Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RCEF-RFFA3) program of the Department of Agriculture in Davao Region (DA-11), an official said Tuesday.
In a press briefing, Evelyn Basa, DA-11 regional rice program coordinator, said they are targeting some 29,281 rice farmers in Davao Region for the program.
On its third phase, Basa said aid program has benefited some 81 percent of the targeted recipients who received PHP5,000 each in unconditional cash assistance, or about PHP120 million total disbursement from the agency.
“We hope to finish the distribution in December this year,“ Basa said.
The RFFA aims to sustain its support to rice farmers tilling two hectares or fewer, and are affected by the episodes of a significant drop in palay farm gate prices in time with the implementation of the Rice Tarrification Law (RTL).
Under the RFFA, she said rice farmers who are duly registered with the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) will receive the intervention.
“They are those who were affected by the low buying of rice production during the pandemic,” Basa said.
Apart from the cash assistance, she said regular programs of the agency will continue such as the distribution of hybrid seeds, certified inbred seeds, farm inputs and technical assistance.
“As part of the regular programs of DA, we are now preparing a special fund for fertilizer vouchers which the rice farmers can avail of,” Basa said.
She assured the PHP87 million budget will be made available as soon as they have complied with all the needed requirements.
“Farmers eligible for this are those who are planting for November to December regardless of the area, but a maximum of two hectares per farmer. The DA will give a fertilizer voucher worth PHP6,600 per hectare,” she explained. (PNA)