To aid farmers affected by low palay prices, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has launched Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RFFA) program in Pangasinan on December 23.
DA Secretary Dar, who led the ceremonial awarding at the Pangasinan Training and Development Center (PTDC) II along with Governor Amado I. Espino III said that Pangasinan is the first among the pilot recipients of the financial assistance.
“This forms part in the assistance programs of the national government for those palay farmers affected by the price drop in rice… this is a nationwide response,” said Sec. Dar.
Sec. Dar emphasized that the RFFA is on top of other intervention programs of the DA, including the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) and the Expanded Survival and Recovery Assistance Program for Rice Farmers (SURE Aid) program to lessen the burden of rice farmers.
Sec. Dar disclosed that the national government has earmarked P3-billion for the RFFA this year which will benefit a total of 600,000 rice farmers and another P3-billion will be released next year for the next batch.
The government has selected 33 provinces where rice farmers (tilling half to two hectares) were severely affected by the price drop, Sec. Dar explained.
Over 500 rice farmers from Mangatarem, Pangasinan comprised the pilot recipients of P5,000 each.
The agriculture secretary also noted that in Pangasinan alone, about 87,000 rice farmers will benefit from this intervention introduced by President Rodrigo Duterte.
As such, Sec. Dar urged farmers: “Let us broaden our minds and hearts… let us accept new technology,” noting that President Duterte and the DA will stay committed to promote and welfare and interest of agriculture sector in the country.
On the other hand, Governor Espino expressed his gratitude to the DA for launching the RFFA program in Pangasinan.
On the part of the provincial government of Pangasinan, Governor Espino pledged that his administration will continuously support programs of the national government in agri sector as it will sustain its provincial-initiated program to boost the rice production and income of farmers in Pangasinan.
“Nagpapasalamat kami sa national government dahil dito lamang sa probinsya ay P435-million ang ipamimigay sa mga magsasaka,” Governor Espino stressed.
Also present during the brief ceremony were: DA Undersecretary Ariel Cayanan, DA-RFO-1 Executive Director Lucrecio Alviar Jr., Landbank of the Philippines (LBP) North Luzon Branch Vice President Ma. Belma Turla and Lingayen Mayor Leopoldo N. Bataoil, the president of the Mayor’s League in Pangasinan.
/Shiella Mae C. De Guzman (Photos by Neiza Ferrer)