PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has approved the release of P12.7 billion for the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RFFA) program to help farmers cope with the increasing cost of production and sustain their productivity.
The program aims to support small rice farmers facing agricultural challenges, including the upcoming El Niño phenomenon.
Marcos approved the release of the aid on Thursday, the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) said Friday, September 29, 2023.
Approximately 2.3 million small rice farmers registered in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) as of June 30, 2023 will each receive P5,000 in financial assistance, sourced from excess tariff collections on rice importations in 2022.
The RFFA is provided as unconditional support to farmers with less than two hectares of land, as mandated by Republic Act 11598 or the Cash Assistance to Filipino Farmers Act of 2021.
Additionally, President Marcos has allocated P700 million from excess tariff collections for the "Palayamanan Plus" conditional cash transfer under the Household Crop Diversification Program.
This initiative aims to provide food, nutrition and income security to RSBSA-registered farmers also listed in the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Approximately 78,000 beneficiaries will receive P10,000 each through the Palayamanan Plus conditional cash transfer.
Both financial assistance packages support the Masagana Rice Industry Development Programs and reflect the government's commitment to addressing agricultural challenges.
Earlier, the Marcos administration also provided financial assistance of P15,000 to rice retailers and sari-sari store owners whose incomes were reduced by price caps he imposed through Executive Order 39.
EO 39 took effect early last month and set the ceiling at P41 per kilogram for regular-milled rice and P45 per kilogram for well-milled rice. (CTL)