SHOWCASE. Agriculture Regional Executive Director Remelyn Recoter speaks before a farmers association at the Uswag Nursery in Barangay Tacas, Jaro on Wednesday. She said on Thursday (June 29, 2022) this July they expect to release the PHP5,000 Rice Farmers Financial Assistance to each of the 272, 134 recipients in the region. (PNA photo by PGLena)

ILOILO CITY – The Department of Agriculture in Western Visayas is eyeing to start July the distribution of PHP5,000 Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RFFA) to each of the 272,134 recipients in the region with rice plantations of two hectares and below.

DA Regional Executive Director for Western Visayas Remelyn Recoter, in an interview on Thursday, said the RFFA is sourced from the excess of the import duties for the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) under the Rice Tariffication Law.

The RCEF-RFFA targets to serve 31,641 farmers from Aklan; 35,493 from Antique; 51,970, Capiz; 87,067, Iloilo; 58,651, Negros Occidental; and 7,492 from Guimaras.

For the next batch, we are hoping that we can already start this July. We have PHP1.4 billion across the region,” Recoter said.

She said annually PHP10 billion is allotted for mechanization, seeds, extension and training, and financing.

The excess was legislated to be used as financial assistance due to the pandemic.

Since it is now on its third batch, the priority will be those who were unable to receive it during the first two batches, and the second will be those who only received it once.

Recoter said this wet season, recipients of a hybrid rice from Iloilo and Guimaras will be receiving fertilizer vouchers through an agreement with the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).

The two provinces are non-RCEF so the DA through its regular program for rice will provide them with hybrid seeds with fertilizer vouchers worth PHP2,262 for every hectare that will be planted.

Farmers will use the vouchers to pay accredited merchants, which in turn will be paid through online banking by the DBP.

A total of 79, 910 vouchers will be distributed to target farmers for the wet season as per data from the Rice Program. (Perla Lena, PNA)