The Department of Agriculture (DA) has started turning over P5,000 in cash assistance to some 2,504 eligible rice farmers under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund-Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RCEF-RFFA).
According to DA Regional Executive Director Crispulo Bautista, the rice farmers from the towns of San Narciso and San Marcelino in Zambales province have started claiming financial assistance as compensation for their income loss due to a drop in the selling price of palay or unhusked rice and increasing cost of fertilizer and other farm input.
Under the special provisions of the RCEF, the RFFA program provides rice farmers who are registered under the Registry Systems for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA), and tilling two hectares and below of land, unconditional cash assistance of P5,000.
The program sources its funds from the rice tariffs collected annually in excess of the PHP10 billion allocated for RCEF.
In Zambales alone, a total of 16,046 rice farmers are about to receive RCEF-RFFA cash aid for the years 2022-2023, officials said.
A total of 202,712 rice farmers in the entire Central Luzon will receive the same assistance.