As palay price falls, farmers get cash aid
LINGAYEN, Pangasinan, Philippines — More than 87,000 farmers affected by the low buying price of palay (unhusked rice) in Pangasinan province will receive P5,000-cash aid each under the rice farmer financial assistance (RFFA) program of the Department of Agriculture (DA).
On Monday, Agriculture Secretary William Dar led the distribution of cash cards to the initial 500 beneficiaries at the Pangasinan Training and Development Center here.
The province is one of the pilot areas for the program, which allows beneficiaries to withdraw the money from automated teller machines of Land Bank of the Philippines.Worth P435 million
“This is a financial aid and not a loan [program] so the farmers don’t need to pay it back,” he said, adding that the unconditional cash transfer is available to farmers tilling 0.5 to 2 hectares of farmland.
In Pangasinan, 87,175 rice farmers will receive the cash aid worth P435 million.
Dar said the DA would distribute a total of P3 billion to the first 33 rice-producing provinces and qualified farmers nationwide.
“[The farmers] are selected based on a comparative price analysis that considered the average marketable surplus and profit gains/losses in those provinces,” he said.Dar said the RFFA is among the intervention programs of the DA to “ease the burden of rice farmers” during the transition phase of the implementation of the rice tariffication law (Republic Act No. 112030).
Under the law, rice farmers will be given financial aid from the tariff collection of the P10-billion rice competitiveness enhancement fund.
Local farmers have been seeking help from the government as the price of palay continues to fall. The average farm-gate price of freshly harvested palay in the province has dropped to P13 per kilogram.—With a report from Willie Lomibao
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