DA distributes P556 million worth of assistance to CAR farmers

Catherine Talavera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) has distributed P556 million worth of agricultural interventions to rice and vegetable farmers in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) who were recently affected by Typhoon Maring.

In a statement over the weekend, the DA said bulk of the assistance was through the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund-Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RCEF-RFFA) program.

About 65,836 Cordillera rice farmers will receive a total cash assistance amounting to P329.18 million.

Through the RFFA, rice farmers enrolled in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA), with landholdings of two hectares and below, will receive unconditional cash assistance worth P5,000.

The DA said its CAR Regional Field Office would start distributing to the beneficiaries the Interventions Monitoring Card that serves as an identification card and cash card, through its partnership with the Development Bank of the Philippines and SquidPay Technology Inc.

Meanwhile, Agriculture Secretary William Dar also awarded check and cash assistance to the calamity-affected farmers and fisherfolk in the region.

The DA’s Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) approved a credit fund amounting to P10 million for the Lengaoan Indigenous Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative as lending conduit under the Expanded SURE Aid and Recovery Project.

Small farmers and fishers may avail of a P20,000 interest-free loan without collateral and payable for 10 years through the SURE Program.

“Additional assistance amounting to P135 million from the Quick Response Fund has been allotted for the region’s rehabilitation and recovery program to benefit the farmers and fisherfolk severely affected by the habagat and Typhoon Maring,”the DA said.

Polyethylene plastic sheets and various vegetable seeds worth P1.29 million were also distributed as initial assistance under the region’s recovery program.

The Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC), on the other hand, paid P3.2 million for the indemnity and claims for rice, corn, high-value crops, livestock, and credit and life term insurance.

Other interventions awarded to the region’s farmers include 50 units of aquaponics system worth P2.75 million from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), eight hauling trucks and two refrigerated vans amounting to P21.44 million from the banner programs of DA-CAR, and P22 million-worth of truck-mounted water well drilling rig and support equipment.

Dar stressed the importance of collective action and urged farmers to join cooperatives that are active both in the production and marketing of commodities, and eventually in value-adding activities.

He stressed that farm clustering and cooperative development are important for higher efficiencies in operations and improved profits.

The DA said a modernized greenhouse with hydroponics project worth P950,000, four units twin tunnel greenhouse for strawberry enterprise worth P950,000, and P7.89 million worth farm-to-market road were also turned over to the farmers in Tuba, Benguet and Sto. Tomas, Baguio City.



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