The Department of Agriculture (DA) is validating the registration of over 103,000 rice farmers in Eastern Visayas to find out if they are qualified to receive assistance from the government.
Of the number, only about 2,250 individuals have been certified as qualified as of mid-July, said Andrew Rodolfo Orais, chief of the DA regional field operations division, in an interview Wednesday.
“Through validation, we are making sure that we will only create an electronic wallet account for qualified farmers. We will download cash assistance through their e-wallets,” Orais told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
The registered rice farmers in the region have been listed under the national Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA), which serves as a major requirement in the prioritization of DA’s distribution of various assistance.
Once registered, farmers are given priority in availing of agriculture assistance in the form of cash or farm inputs like seeds and fertilizers, and fuel subsidy vouchers, crop insurance, among others.
The ongoing validation will remove from the list the dead farmers and those who own more than two hectares of rice fields.
Orais is upbeat about completing the process before the year ends.
The 2,250 farmers recently assessed by DA will be prioritized in the distribution of Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) with an allocation of PHP523 million this year.
Under RCEF, DA provides PHP5,000 cash assistance to small rice farmers that cultivate land not exceeding two hectares.
A beneficiary should be listed in the RSBSA.
The cash grant is sourced from the accumulated excess tariff under the Rice Tariffication Law.
Orais said the priority for cash aid this year is those who have not received financial assistance in 2020 and 2021. (PNA)