By Leilanie Adriano
LAOAG CITY — Over 52,000 rice farmers in the province are entitled to receive P5,000 each as financial assistance amid the flooding of imported rice in the market.
“The P5,000 cash assistance is given to our rice farmers to mitigate the significant drop in palay farm gate price due to Republic Act 11203 or the so-called Rice Tariffication Law,” Provincial Agriculturist Norma Lagmay said Tuesday, adding that the aid may be used to purchase farm inputs.
Out of the total 52,216 rice farmer-beneficiaries, at least 2,560 farmers already received their cash aid while others are still being processed. The initial batch of beneficiaries came from Laoag City, and the towns of Bacarra, Pinili, Badoc and Solsona.
Lagmay said the number of eligible beneficiaries of the Rice Farmer Financial Assistance (RFFA) program has almost tripled from the initial number of 19,927 rice farmer-beneficiaries in Ilocos Norte.
Under the program, farmers may receive the payment through a LandBank-issued cash card, or over-the-counter withdrawal from Landbank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines conduits and accredited payout outlets.
RFFA forms part of the immediate interventions set up to cushion rice farmers from the birth pains of the Rice Tariffication Law.
The law provides for financial assistance for rice farmers to be sourced from the tariff collection of the P10-billion Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).
Aside from the RFFA, the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte has also provided life and health insurance to farmers.
“In case of death, a farmer can receive P50,000 death aid and if they get sick, at least 30 percent of the total hospital will be covered,” Lagmay added. (PNA)