DOF, DA to help farm­ers af­fected by Rice Tar­if­fi­ca­tion Law

Sun Star Bacolod - - Business - /pr

FI­NANCE Sec­re­tary Car­los Dominguez III and Agri­cul­ture Sec­re­tary Wil­liam Dar have mu­tu­ally agreed over the week­end to im­ple­ment the as­sis­tance pro­gram to help rice farm­ers ad­just to low prices of palay (paddy rice) fol­low­ing the pas­sage of Repub­lic Act (RA) No. 11203 or the Rice Tar­if­fi­ca­tion Law.

Un­der the pro­gram, an un­con­di­tional cash as­sis­tance would be al­lo­cated and dis­trib­uted to af­fected farm­ers by ex­pand­ing the on­go­ing Sur­vival and Re­cov­ery (SURE) pro­gram of the Agri­cul­tural Credit Pol­icy Coun­cil (ACPC), an at­tached agency of the DA.

The ex­pan­sion of SURE to as­sist rice farm­ers will also build on the good ex­pe­ri­ence un­der the Pantawid Pam­ilyang Pilipino Pro­gram (4Ps) pro­gram of the De­part­ment of So­cial Wel­fare and De­vel­op­ment (DSWD).

The ex­panded SURE pro­gram is in ad­di­tion to the pro­grams and projects man­dated un­der the Rice Com­pet­i­tive En­hance­ment Fund (RCEF), the an­nual Php10-bil­lion fund es­tab­lished un­der RA 11203 to be sourced from the Bureau of Cus­tom’s (BOC) col­lec­tion of tar­iffs on rice im­ports by pri­vate traders fol­low­ing the en­act­ment of this law.

“This un­con­di­tional cash as­sis­tance pro­gram is meant to help cush­ion the ini­tial im­pact of lower palay prices on our farm­ers as they tran­si­tion to the new rice tar­if­fi­ca­tion regime,” Dominguez said.

“For the long haul, the RCEF fa­cil­ity un­der RA 11203 will help sharpen the global com­pet­i­tive­ness of our farm­ers by way of an ar­ray of pro­grams pro­vid­ing them with ac­cess to farm ma­chin­ery and equip­ment, high­yield seeds, cheap credit and skills train­ing pro­grams on farm mech­a­niza­tion and modern farm­ing tech­niques,” he added. Dominguez ex­pects that tar­iff rev­enues from rice im­ports in 2019 will likely ex­ceed PHP10 bil­lion, a de­vel­op­ment that will as­sure full fund­ing of the RCEF.

The an­nual tar­iff rev­enues in ex­cess of PHP10 bil­lion will en­able fur­ther ad­just­ment as­sis­tance for rice farm­ers for the re­main­der of the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion, he said.

Dar, who chairs the ACPC Coun­cil, will con­vene the Coun­cil at the soon­est time pos­si­ble to get the SURE as­sis­tance started right away.

Dominguez is a mem­ber of the ACPC Coun­cil.

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