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Government monetary assistance to 2.5K Zambales rice growers

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The Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund – Rice Producers Financial Assistance is still being administered by the Department of Agriculture (DA) to qualified rice farmers (RCEF-RFFA).

A total of 2,504 rice farmers from the Zambales towns of San Narciso and San Marcelino have begun requesting financial aid this month as compensation for their income loss caused by a decline in the selling price of palay and rising fertilizer and other farm input costs, according to DA Regional Executive Director Crispulo Bautista on Tuesday.

The RFFA program offers PHP5,000 in unconditional cash support to rice farmers who are registered with the Registry Systems for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) and cultivate two hectares or less of land in accordance with the particular provisions of the RCEF.

Funds for the program come from rice tariffs that are collected annually in excess of the PHP10 billion designated for RCEF.

16,046 rice growers will receive RCEF-RFFA monetary assistance in Zambales alone from 2022 to 2023.

On the other hand, the same support will be provided to 202,712 rice farmers in Central Luzon.

One of the farmers in San Narciso who received assistance, Charlie Febelina, thanked the government for providing it.

“Mahalo malaya po sa ibinibigay na tulong at natatanggap naming biyaya sa DA. (Thank you so much for the support and blessing we received from the DA. Magagamit ko po ito pandagdag pambili ng abono sa aking tanim ang palay. I may buy fertilizer with money for my recently planted palay),” Febelina said in a statement.

The PHP5,000 cash assistance, according to San Narciso farmer Abegail Falsario, would be used to purchase insecticides.

“Alright, alright, ang software. The program is good at nakakatulong talaga. It is beneficial and very helpful,” Falsario remarked.

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