March 3, 2024

ITOGON, Benguet – Rice and corn farmers and fisherfolk in Benguet may now benefit from the Cordillera’s share of the excess and unallotted rice tariffication fund of the national government.

During the ce-remonial distribution, Department of Agriculture-Cordillera Director Cameron Odsey said the intervention monitoring cards (IMCs) were given to farmers and fisherfolk so they could continue with their livelihood despite the pandemic.

“The government is giving assistance because food is important. Let us continue to till the land, and fish so that our fellow Filipinos will have food to eat,” Odsey said.

A total of 5,800 rice and corn farmers and fisherfolk in Benguet out of the 87,662 in the region will receive P5,000 assistance under the Rice Competitiveness Enhanced Fund-Rice Farmers Financial Assistance Phase II (RCEF-RFFAP).

The fund came from the P80.9 billion unallotted fund collected by the government under the rice tariffication program.

In 2021, Benguet yielded 3.46 metric tons of rice from the 6,842 hectares of rice lands.

At least 6,863 rice farmers are registered with the Registry System of Basic Agriculture (RSBA) or those who are listed in the DA’s registry of farmers.

The ceremonial distribution for rice and corn farmers also included the ceremonial distribution of the P3,000 IMC cards for fuel assistance to corn farmers and fisherfolk.

The beneficiaries of the fuel assistance are those who have not yet received assistance under the RCEF-RFFAP.

“Value the assistance and continue engaging in agriculture because it will make the Filipinos eat and survive,” Odsey added.

DA data showed the government has allotted P451.46 million for the RCEF-RFFAP program in Cordillera.

“We are very thankful for the DA’s continuing assistance. I have attended training on food safety in the past and the DA came up with programs to include us in their activities that will improve the quality of food we produce,” said Jerome Dasi, a rice farmer and among the beneficiaries of the program. – PNA