By Rey Anthony Chiu | 07:10 AM February 12, 2022

Financial inclusivity will soon be a norm for Boholano farmers listed in the updated Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA).

This as the Department of Agriculture (DA) will soon provide validated farmers their respective Interventions Monitoring Card (IMC) which will serve as an identification (ID) and cash swipe card.

According to Development Bank of the Philippines Senior Vice President Ricardo Josef Bandal, the ID and cash card in the IMC allows the government to download its financial interventions to the farmers accounts and the card can become a mobile electronic wallet the farmer can use for debit purchases.

The card also allows all RSBSA-listed farmers easy access to government interventions, starting with the second round of the P5,000 Rice Farmers’ Financial Assistance (RFFA).

SVP Bandal came along with DBP Assistant Vice President Rallen Verdadero and the DA Secretary William Dar to turn-over DA interventions especially the first round of the RFFA to some 53,000 Boholano farmers listed in the registry system.

The DA came to the turn-over of interventions bringing along a registry team to gather the details of farmer members and store it in a national registry that would reflect in a database the names and other details of a rice farmer tilling at most two hectares of rice or below.

The RSBSA-IMC also includes crops farmer, fishers, hog raisers, and other agri-fishery workers and stakeholders, in short, all who are in the task of agricultural food production.

The DA IMC cash card is among the recent government initiatives to get farmers, who often see themselves as low class citizens, financial inclusivity, especially with the financial benefits they can get with the operationalization of the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL).

The RTL or RA 11203 incorporates a provision where excess tariffs from rice which the country imports are collected and forms the bulk of the P10 billion Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund and the excess forms the annual subsidy to rice farmers affected by the flooding of cheap rice to make them competitive in the global rice market.

The subsidy distributed to Boholano farmers in cash this time while the government is still registering members into the updated RSBSA database, will soon be given, as downloaded fund in the new IMC, DA officials clarified.

Data from the Bureau of Customs (BOC) stated that from March 2019, when the RTL took effect, to December 2019, the government collected P12.3 billion in rice tariffs. The amount increased to P15.494B in 2020. In 2021, the BOC collected P18.9B in rice tariffs.

With the congress allocating P267.7 million from the 2020 excess tariffs and another P267.7 M in 2021, Boholano farmers are set to receive their next cash assistance through the IMC by April of this year, according to Sec Dar.

Even then, the DA, through its field operations services and regional field offices (RFOs), with local government units (LGUs) continue to validate and enroll farmers and fisherfolk in the RSBSA.

As to the DA, the registry system contains the names, addresses of legitimate farmers, farm laborers, and fishers, and their respective production areas.

This serves as the primary requirement in availing of “OneDA” programs and services such as the RCEF, insurance coverage, credit and financing, and farm and fishery inputs. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

By Bohol Island News

Your reliable source of news and content in the island and the rest of Central Visayas and Mindanao.

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