By Rey Anthony Chiu | 10:42 AM January 30, 2022
The Department of Agriculture (DA) in Region 7 handed out over P22 million in assistance to thousands of rice farmers who were affected by a double whammy recently.
Affected by the liberalization of rice imports resulting in the flooding of cheap imported rice in the country, and the flooding brought about by super typhoon Odette, some 4,416 rice farmers in Bohol each received P5T in cash assistance.
Set as the government’s response to Rice Tariffication Law (RTL), the assistance also come in time when farmers attempt to recover what can be salvaged from the recent cropping when the storm-spawned rains brought in floods and washed out ready-to-harvest grains.
DR Regional Field Office 7 Regional Technical Director Cirilo Namoc bared this, adding that the assistance forms part of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund – Rice Farmer’s Financial Assistance (RCEF-REFA) which the government put to bring local production up through cash subsidies.
DA-RFO 7 handed the cash grants to Boholano rice farmers from January 26 to 28, after connectivity issues hampered the fast turn-over of the assistance.
The cash assistance was envisioned to allow local rice farmers the leeway to spend more on farm inputs, better quality seeds and access mechanization to cut on their production costs and compensate on their income.
At the turn-over of cash assistance, farmer Oscar Hilot, beneficiary of the cash assistance expressed his gratefulness for the government’s cash subsidy, adding that getting the cash can be an economic stimulus which has become a necessity due to the slowing down of the economy.
Aside from bearing the main brunt of the effects of the RTL, farmers have admitted that the community quarantine brought about by the pandemic has disrupted their food production, and the recent agricultural losses due to the calamity has sprawled most farmers.
Namoc said the government launched the RFFA to help compensate the loss of income of rice farmers caused by the forced drop in farmgate prices of rice to P13 per kilo, to compete with the imports, which the RTL implementation has caused. (rahc/DA PR)