A total of 15 rice farmers from the municipality of Itogon, Benguet received their Php5,000.00 cash assistance from the Department of Agriculture (DA) under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund-Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RCEF-RFFA Program). The assistance totaling Php75,000.00, along with their individual Intervention Monitoring Cards (IMC), was personally awarded by DA Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel, Jr. during his visit to La Trinidad, Benguet, on January 26, 2024.

The provision of the cash aid is timely, according to the rice farmer-beneficiaries, who said that they will use the amount to purchase fertilizers for the next cropping.

“In behalf of the Itogon rice farmers, kami po ay taos-pusong nagpapasalamat sa mga tulong na natatanggap namin. Malaking tulong po itong RFFA o Php5,000.00. Salamat din po sa mga seeds, fertilizers na aming natatanggap kada cropping season. Dahil sa mga tulong at pagsusuporta ninyo sa amin, kami po ay lalong ganado at sisipag sa pagtatrabaho sa aming maliit na taniman. Marami-rami pong salamat,” expressed Ms. Floreta Pe-ay.

The RFFA is unconditional financial assistance to eligible rice farmers who are registered in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) and tilling two hectares or below as compensation for the projected loss of farm income that arises from the tarrification of the quantitative import restrictions of rice. The financial assistance will be claimed through the farmers’ IMCs, which serve as their identification and transaction cards.

For FY2023, the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) has a total fund share of Php619,199,100.00 from the national allotment to benefit 122,130 eligible rice farmers in the six provinces of the region.// JBAgrifino