MANILA—Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar announced Monday that within the week his office will start the distribution of Php 5,000 to rice farmers in 34 provinces who are affected by the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.
This aid, which is intended exclusively for rice farmers, amounts to Php 3.0-billion and is part of the approved Php 31-billion supplemental budget to fund the Plant, Plant, Plant Program, or “Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS) Laban sa Covid-19,” a program of the government to benefit farmers, fisherfolks and general consumers.
“Mag-uumpisa na ang pamamahagi namin sa isang beses na ayuda sa mga magsasaka ng palay na tig-Php 5,000 na galing sa Financial Subsidy for Rice Farmers project, said Sec. Dar.
Sec. Dar clarified the aid will be handed to some 591,246 rice farmer-beneficiaries of 34 provinces in the country who are in the Updated Farmer’s Registry of the department. “Matagal na itong Farmer’s Registry at hindi mabigyan ng tulong na galing sa pundong ito ang mga nagsabi na rice farmer sila ngunit wala sa listahan ng DA. Kailangan nilang nagpalista nuon pa,” sabi ni Sec. Dar.
The other projects that will be funded by the Php 31-billion supplemental budget include the Php 8.5-billion “Rice Resiliency Project”, which already includes the aid to rice farmers, that aims to increase the production of rice from 87 percent to 93 percent sufficiency level.
Sec. Dar said the program will boost palay production to reach 22.12 million metric tons by end of 2020, which is equivalent to 13.51 million metric tons of rice or 93 percent of the country’s total demand at 14.46 million metric tons.
The supplemental budget will also fund the additional palay procurement fund of the National Food Authority; expanded SURE Aid and recovery project; expanded agricultural insurance project; social amelioration for farmers and farm workers; upscaling of KADIWA ni Ani at Kita direct marketing program; integrated livestock and corn resiliency project; expanded small ruminants and poultry project; coconut-based diversification project; fisheries resiliency project; revitalized urban agriculture and gulayan project; corn for food project and strategic communications project.