NTA launches e-vouchers for farm inputs

Catherine Talavera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The National Tobacco Administration (NTA) has launched an electronic voucher system aimed at improving the delivery of farm inputs to tobacco farmers through local suppliers.

In a statement, the NTA said it recently launched the Farm Inputs Voucher Management System (FIVMS).

NTA Administrator and CEO Robert Victor Seares Jr. said the FIVMS would boost the agency’s capacity to provide long-term support to its farmers who are facing unprecedented market challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and global fertilizer shortage.

“We are adopting FIVMS to fast-track the provision of in-kind production assistance, such as fertilizers and crop protection agents, to all tobacco-growing provinces,” Seares said.

He said the FIVMS would expedite agricultural deals by ensuring transparency and reducing fraud in the distribution of subsidized inputs.

“Aside from saving time and resources, it will also encourage a direct relationship between farmers and merchants and help farmers evaluate the cost-effectiveness of using different fertilizer combinations to improve the productivity and yields of their farms,” Seares said.

The NTA explained that the digital platform sends out e-vouchers to NTA branches and partner merchants who then notify farmers to visit their local supplier and receive the farm inputs based on a predetermined value.

“This allows the agency to monitor the distribution in real time, enabling the NTA to quickly determine who received aid and who did not,” the agency said.

It added that the e-voucher system is expected to benefit around 4,978 rice and corn growers of the Integrated Farming and Other Income Generating Activities Project (IFOIGAP) during its first year of implementation.

Through the IFOIGAP for rice and corn, the NTA provides production assistance with a 40 percent subsidy in the form of farm inputs.

“The economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the tobacco industry cannot be overstated. They require an immediate response that will support the long-term resilience of the farmers,” Seares said.


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