DBM releases P8-B subsidy to rice farmers

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said Monday, August 1, that it has approved the release of subsidy to rice farmers affected by the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL).

In a statement, Budget Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman said the Notice of Cash Allocation (NCA) amounting to P8.05 billion was released to the Department of Agriculture (DA), which will lead in its distribution.

Pangandaman said the fresh disbursement will benefit 1.5 million eligible rice farmers who will each get P5,000 in the third and fourth quarter this year.

The release of the NCA is in line with the implementation of the Rice Farmers' Financial Assistance (RFFA) program, in order to provide support to rice farmers affected by the RTL, the budget chief said.

The RFFA is a P3-billion unconditional cash transfer program which aims to give P5,000 financial assistance each to rice farmers who are tilling 0.5 to 2 hectares of land.

“Our farmers deserve our help and care. The immediate release of cash assistance could provide relief to our rice farmers given the recent natural calamities they experienced,” Pangandaman said.

"This unconditional cash assistance could also provide aid to the rice farmers in securing farm inputs such as fertilizer and oil farm machinery," she added.

The NCA likewise covers the service fee, including the cost of card generation, for the Rice Competitive Enhancement Fund-RFFA under the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).

Last March 24, DBM released a Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) amounting to P8.9 billion to the DA under Unprogrammed Appropriations, General Appropriations Act FY 2022, and Republic Act 11639.

Last May 6, an initial NCA amounting to P894.8 million was released by the DBM to DA based on the computed budgetary requirements of 173,753 qualified rice farmer-beneficiaries.

On Feb. 14, 2019, former President Duterte signed Republic Act 11203 entitled, “An Act Liberalizing the Importation, Exportation, and Trading of Rice, Lifting for the Purpose the Quantitative Import Restriction on Rice, and for Other Purposes.”

The law provided a P10-billion annual support to rice farmers to help increase their productivity and income.