DBM greenlights P455-million allocation for aid to rice farmers

At a glance

  • Department of Budget and Management (DBM) approves P455.59 million worth of budget for the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).

  • The RCEF improves local rice productivity and competitiveness, and boost farmer income through machinery and equipments.

  • Last month, the DBM approved the release of P431.79 million worth of Notice of Cash Allocations (NCA) for RCEP's program and components.

To support the Department of Agriculture's (DA) rice program, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released funding for the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Program (RCEP) for the first quarter of this year.

Budget Secretary Mina F. Pangandaman approved on Tuesday, Feb. 13, the P455.59 million budget given to the DA and three other government-owned and controlled Corporations (GOCCs) which would cover RCEP’s operating requirements. 

“In our quest for food security for all under President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.'s vision of Bagong Pilipinas, we will continue to support programs that boost the local production of major agricultural commodities, including rice, which is a staple food in almost every Filipino household,” Pangandaman said.

The RCEF helps local rice farmers improve their productivity and competitiveness, as well as boost their income through better farm machinery and equipment, rice seed development, propagation, and promotion, expansion of rice credit assistance, and other extension services.

Last month, the DBM chief approved the release of Notices of Cash Allocation (NCAs) for RCEP’s programs and components of RCEP agencies for this year.

The implementing agencies were the Land Bank of the Philippines with P133.6 million, the Development Bank of the Philippines with P120 million, and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) with over P178 million.

The NCAs that were approved in January totaled P431.79 million.

Subsequently, the DBM also approved the NCA issuance to help the DA in their first quarter’s operating cash requirements for the program.

The approved NCA for the DA assistance amounted to P23.79 million; P10.97 million of this budget was given to the DA - Agricultural Training Institute (DA-ATI), while P12.8 million was released to the DA - Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (DA-PhilMech).

The monetary approval from the DBM is in line with Republic Act No. 11203, which states that the RCEF shall have an annual appropriation of P10 billion for the next six years and must be automatically credited to a Special Account in the General Fund of the National Treasury.

“The amount allocated shall be released directly to the implementing agencies as provided for in the Act based on the objectives and plans of the rice industry roadmap,” DBM added.

According to the law, the fund shall be disbursed to rice-producing areas, as fifty percent of it will be granted to eligible farmer associations and registered rice coops and local government units (LGUs) through farm equipment.

Meanwhile, 30 percent of the funding will be placed for the development, propagation, and promotion of inbred rice seeds to farmers and their organizations into seed growers’ associations and/or coops engaged with seed trading.

Ten percent will be for the credit facilities made available with low-interest rates and minimum collateral requirements for the farmers and coops, while another ten percent will be put into the extension services provided by PhilMech, PhilRice, ATI, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to expand the agricultural knowledge to farm schools nationwide.