Over 1K rice farmers in southern Negros get cash aid

Some 1,041 farmers in Binalbagan, Negros Occidental have received financial assistance totaling PHP5.2 million from the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund-Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RCEF-RFFA) of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Each farmer-beneficiary received PHP5,000 during the distribution led by Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson and DA-Western Visayas Regional Executive Director Remelyn Recoter at the town’s Barangay Payao covered court on Thursday afternoon.

In his message, Lacson acknowledged the efforts of Negrense rice farmers on agricultural productivity amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

“[You are the] key players in ensuring food security in the province,” he said.

Through the RCEF-RFFA, the DA provides financial assistance to rice farmers as compensation for the projected reduction of farm income arising from the tariffication on rice.

Recoter said the DA-6 targets to distribute cash assistance amounting to PHP226 million to a total of 45,213 rice farmers in Negros Occidental.

The RFFA fund, sourced from the excess tariff collected from rice imported in 2019 and 2020, is benefiting about 1.6 million farmers nationwide.

The beneficiaries are farmers tilling farmlands measuring two hectares or less and are registered in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture.

In an earlier statement, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the Rice Tariffication Law is not a failure but a game-changer that has continuously supported local rice farmers to increase production and profit.

Meanwhile, Recoter said the DA-6 is preparing to assist Negrense farmers in the rehabilitation efforts after the onslaught of Typhoon Odette.

About 70 percent of the PHP5-billion typhoon damage to agriculture and fisheries in Western Visayas has been reported in the hard-hit Negros Occidental, DA-6 records showed.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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