The Department of Agriculture (DA) targets to release PHP46 million under its Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RFFA) to 9,204 small rice farmers in Antique province through its caravan payout on Aug. 7-10. Sonie Guanco, DA’s Agricultural Program Coordinating Office (APCO) officer-in-charge in Antique, in an interview Wednesday, said the assistance of PHP5,000 each for farmers tilling rice farms of two hectares and below is sourced under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) as mandated under Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law. ‘We requested for the caravan payout again to fast-track the release of the RFFA for the farmers who are registered with the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBA) and have not yet availed of the financial assistance,’ he said. DA targeted around 35,493 rice farmers as recipients in the province; 25,089 were served during the first payout in March last year. For the first two days, the payout served around 3,700 recipients from the municipalities of Anini-y and Tobias Fornier, Hamtic, San Remigio, Sibalom and this capital town. Farmers from municipalities of Belison and Patnongon, Bugasong, and Laua-an received their cash aid on Aug. 9, while the Aug. 10 schedule will cater to eligible farmers from Barbaza, Tibiao and Culasi. ‘Since there are only a few farmer-beneficiaries in Sebaste, they will have to get their assistance in-store in Culasi later,’ he said. The DA is yet to set the payout for farmer-beneficiaries in the island municipality of Caluya. ‘Farmers can either use the financial assistance to buy their farm inputs or their food and other basic needs considering that August is a lean month,’ Guanco said.
Source: Philippines News Agency