Action for Economic Reforms (AER) is calling on newly-appointed agriculture chief William Dar to urgently work on his unconditional cash transfer plan to aid farmers in the continued transition due to the Rice Tariffication Law.
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Department of Agriculture urged to hasten release of farmers’ fund
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - August 11, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture is being urged to immediately implement and release its proposed cash assistance to rice farmers to help ease the impact of lower palay prices.

Action for Economic Reforms (AER) is calling on newly-appointed agriculture chief William Dar to urgently work on his unconditional cash transfer plan to aid farmers in the continued transition due to the Rice Tariffication Law.

Dar is already studying a measure similar to the government’s 4Ps-Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program as one of the immediate interventions apart from expediting the release of the P10-billion Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund.

AER president Jessica Cantos said the cash transfers have to be prioritized as an urgent short-term intervention to protect both the welfare of rice farmers and the law itself.

“Our problem is time. The money for cash transfers has not been allocated yet for this year’s budget. The RCEF subsidy is rigid: the possibility of a cash transfer solely depends on how much tariff will be collected since only the amount in excess of P10 billion can be used for cash transfers,” Cantos said.

“But this has to be done now to tide over farmers in the transition to RCEP going full blast. It principally intends to serve as a temporary and short-term mitigating measure in the transition period.  This is urgent for both political and economic reasons,” she said.

The group emphasized the need for a competent agri chief who will directly address the crises plaguing the agricultural sector, and take proactive measures to ensure the welfare of farmers.

“Hopefully he will do a much better job after our agriculture’s lackluster performance coupled by the mismanagement of our rice supply that contributed much to inflation last year until the early part of this year,” the group said.

Dar has proposed a new thinking strategy to advance the agriculture sector in order to achieve food security.

He said the strategy seeks to collectively empower farmers, fisherfolks and the private sector to increase agricultural productivity and profitability.

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE FARMERS’ FUND
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