A total of P101,370,000 was provided by the agriculture department under Republic Act (RA) 11598, or the Cash Assistance for Filipino Farmers Act. (PN Photo)

Some 20,274 local farmers tilling farmlands of two hectares or less each received P5,000 cash assistance with the launch of the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Rice Farmer Financial Assistance (RFFA) program in Palawan that will run until 2024.

A total of P101,370,000 was provided by the agriculture department under Republic Act (RA) 11598, or the Cash Assistance for Filipino Farmers Act, wherein the excess of P10 billion from the Rice Competitive Enhancement Fund (RCEF) under RA 11203, or the rice tariffication law, will be used as direct cash assistance to Filipino farmers.

Regional Executive Director Antonio Gerundio said the P10 billion annually collected from tariffs on imported rice is divided into P5 billion allocation for machinery, P3 billion for certified inbred seeds, P1 billion for training, and P1 billion for loans.

“Iyong sobra sa P10 billion out of tax doon sa importation ay ibinabalik sa atin – dapat yearly ay makarating sa atin ang tag P5,000 na ayuda – kung lumampas man sa P10 billion ang collection ng tax, iyon ang ibinibigay na assistance sa atin,” Gerundio explained.

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In addition, the DA also distributed 92 units of agricultural machinery to 39 farmer cooperatives and irrigators’ associations, amounting to P94,592,165 through the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech).

“Ang puno’t dulo ng batas is not just about modernization but is also about competitiveness, na sana itong mga pinamigay sa atin ay makatulong na ma-reduce natin ang cost of production. Upang ang ating cost ay bababa, maging katulad na ng cost of production ng Thailand at Vietnam. Ang ating cost of production halos nasa P12 per kilo but ‘yong Vietnam, they are hitting as low as P6 per kilo, ganoon sila kababa,” he said.

The department also turned over 9,500 bags of certified seeds amounting to P7,200,000; 205 bags of corn seeds amounting to P307,500; 100 kilos of vegetable seeds worth P300,000; 31,000 pieces (pcs) of cashew seedlings worth P1,550,000; 20,000 pcs. of banana plantlets worth P800,000; 1,700 pcs. of assorted planting materials worth P85,000; and 102 cavans of rice worth P204,000, to the provincial government.

Other DA-attached agencies also extended interventions, such as the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) MIMAROPA with 64 units of a 30-footer fiberglass-reinforced boat with engine and complete accessories, a 6.5 horsepower (HP) marine gasoline engine, a 14 horsepower diesel engine, boxes of sardines, noodles, and sacks of rice with a total amount of P9,088,500.

The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), on the other hand, provided planting materials, while the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) released P1, 374, 805, the amount of insurance indemnification to 194 farmers.

The Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) provided P25 million through three conduits: Mindoro Progressive Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Palawan State University, and Dumarao Greenfield Multi-Purpose Cooperative.

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is one of the senior reporters of Palawan News. She covers agriculture, business, and different feature stories. Her interests are collecting empty bottles, aesthetic earrings, and anything that is color yellow.