Bohol, Negros Oriental farmers get financial aid
Mitchelle Palaubsanon (The Freeman) - May 11, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Over 1,400 out of the 64,033 rice farmers from the provinces of Bohol and Negros Oriental have received their P5,000 in cash subsidy from the Department of Agriculture (DA).

The first batch got the aid on May 8. They were those with existing Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) accounts.

“Of these (64,033), 1,497 farmers have already received their cash subsidy because they already have an existing LBP account," said Atty. Salvador Diputado, DA-7 regional director.

He said the rest of the beneficiaries will soon get their aid, which is under the DA's Financial Subsidy for Rice Farmers (FSRF).

The FSRF was created to help rice farmers who are affected by the community quarantine due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Diputado said the beneficiaries were thoroughly validated and surveyed by the Municipal Agricultural Offices (MAOs).

Based on the guidelines, Diputado said, only rice farmers tilling below one hectare and are duly registered in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) are qualified to avail of the P5,000 cash assistance.

For Central Visayas, Diputado said, only Bohol and Negros Oriental, where most rice plantations are situated, were included.

On the other hand, rice farmers are now enjoying high farmgate prices of palay (paddy rice).

 “We are happy that despite the challenges the industry is facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our rice farmers remain hopeful as we continue to assist them in increasing their yields and reducing their cost of production," DA Secretary William Dar said in a statement.

Dar said the national average price of dry palay is at P19.91 per kilogram (kg), while fresh palay sells at P17.22/kg.

He said these farmgate prices are “fairly competitive and give farmers a good return for their investments and hard work.”

“Our farmers can count on the Duterte administration’s all-out support to massively intensify our local food production. With our experience on Covid-19, we can no longer downplay the importance of producing our own food,” Dar added.  KQD (FREEMAN)

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