By Zorayda Tecson
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – Another batch of farmers in this province recently received cash assistance from the government through the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund – Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RCEF-RFFA) program.
A total of 3,805 farmers from the different municipalities of the province received P5,000 each during a distribution activity held at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center last Friday.
Under the special provisions of the RCEF, the RFFA program provides unconditional cash assistance amounting to P5,000 to each rice farmer who is registered under the Registry Systems for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) and tills two hectares of land or less. The fund comes from the rice tariffs collected annually in excess of the P10 billion allocated for the RCEF.
Crispulo Bautista, director of the Department of Agriculture, (DA-3) Regional Director said the RFFA aims to provide monetary assistance as compensation for the projected reduction or loss of farm income arising from the tariffication of the quantitative import restrictions on rice.
“The release of cash assistance also provides relief to rice farmers given the recent natural calamities and will also aid them in securing farm inputs, such as fertilizer,” Bautista said in an interview.
Aside from cash assistance, he said DA-3 also continuously provides various intervention assistance to the farmers, such as hybrid seeds, certified palay seeds, fertilizer discount vouchers, and technical assistance.
Pampanga Gov. Dennis Pineda said he is thankful to the national government for giving to support to agriculture which is one of the pillars of their province’s economy. He likewise reminded the farmer-beneficiaries to use the cash aid on agricultural inputs.
Mark Rivera, one of the farmer-beneficiaries, thanked the government for the assistance. “Thank you very much for the assistance provided to us. Rest assured that we will use it to purchase fertilizers for palay),” Rivera said in Tagalog in a social media post. (PNA)