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Almost 2,000 rice growers in Northern Samar have received financial assistance.

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines – According to the Department of Agriculture (DA), around 2,000 rice farmers in Northern Samar have received cash assistance from the central government under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund – Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RCEF-RFFA).

The 1,955 rice farmers who received cash assistance on February 25 came from the Northern Samar towns of Bobon, Catarman, Mondragon, Pambujan, and San Roque.

Rodel Macapaas, assistant chief of the DA’s regional planning, monitoring, and evaluation section, claimed in a phone interview that each of them received PHP5,000 in monetary support.

According to Macapaas, Northern Samar is the final province to get the funding under the RCEF-first RFFA’s batch of releases in Eastern Visayas.

“This is just the beginning; we’ll be releasing more monies to other farmers in the area.” We don’t impose any restrictions on how they spend the funds. The goal is to relieve our rice farmers of their current economic burdens,” he told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

Within the first six months of the year, the program aims to distribute cash aid to 58,684 rice farmers in the region.

The payments started in November of last year.

Small rice farmers with land under two hectares are eligible for PHP5,000 under the RCEF-RFFA.

A beneficiary must be registered with the Registry System for Agriculture’s Basic Sectors.

The cash is being pulled out from the accumulated surplus tariff in 2019 and 2020 under the Rice Tariffication Law equivalent to PHP7.6 billion.

The tariff allocates PHP5 billion to farm machinery and equipment, PHP3 billion to certified inbred seeds, PHP1 billion to credit, and PHP1 billion to training and extension, totaling PHP10 billion.

The Rice Tariffication Law, passed in February 2019, replaced quantitative limits on rice imports with a 35 percent import tariff.

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