TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan, Jan. 17 (PIA) - Out of the 110,734 rice farmers in the Cagayan Valley region, 745 farmers from Alcala and Enrile towns in Cagayan received their share of P5,000 each under the Rice Farmer Financial Assistance Program (RFFA) of the Department of Agriculture (DA).
DA Asst. Secretary for Operations Andrew Villacorta said there are more than half million farmer-beneficiaries from the 33 priority provinces which are top rice producing areas after the government allotted P3 billion for the program through the DA, the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) to help small farmers affected by the Trade Liberalization.
Cagayan has the most number of beneficiaries with 44,974 followed by 43,496 and 15,948 for Isabela and Nueva Vizcaya, respectively and Quirino with 6,316. The beneficiaries are those who are tilling half up to two hectares of rice land only.
"Our President Duterte saw the plight of our farmers after price of palay went down and whose agricultural products were severely affected by calamities," Villacorta said.
He said that part of the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) is the yearly provision of P10-B for six years for rice farmers until such time that they become competitive.
Of the said amount, the largest share of P5-B will go to the acquisition of machineries, P3-B for free seeds, P1-B for extension and training and P1-B for credit services.
The P10-B support for farmers is aside from the budget of DA for its regular programs and projects.
Villacorta reiterated Sec. William Dar's plea to farmers to go into diversified farming and value-adding. "We want our farmers and fisherfolk to double their harvest within five years," the assistant secretary said.
Meanwhile, Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba said we are still on the first year of the implementation of the RTL and there will be more problems. "But we are lucky to have a President and a Secretary who see the plight of our farmers," Mamba added.
The governor has high hopes for Cagayan but the need to be innovative, the need to look for new products, to form cooperatives and know where our market is should be given a priority.
The reopening of the Aparri port will reconnect Cagayan to the different countries, the governor said and this will bring back prosperity and development to Cagayan especially to our farmers. (MDCT/GVB/PIA 2-Cagayan)