DA Sec leads cash cards distribution

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DINALUPIHAN, Bataan – Qualified rice farmers from Bataan, Zambales and Pampanga were given P5,000 cash aid under the Rice Farmer Financial Assistance (RFFA) Program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) on Monday, February 3.

The program was held at the Dinalupihan Civic Center where rice farmers received their cards containing the cash aid from the Landbank of the Philippines.

DA Secretary William Dar said the program is part of the assistance of the national government for rice farmers affected by the low price of ‘palay’.

“This is for selected rice farmers who are tilling 0.5 hectare to two hectares of land in all 33 provinces in the country who were assessed to be needing assistance,” he said.

Sec. Dar was joined by Bataan Governor Abet Garcia, Dinalupihan Mayor Gila Garcia and officials from Landbank, local and regional officers of DA. 

“Masayang masaya po ang ating lalawigan at nakatanggap ng ganito kalaking pondo from the national government para itulong sa ating agriculture sector,” Gov. Garcia told Bataan newsmen. 

Dar said RFFA is an unconditional cash transfer (UCT) while other financial aids, such as loan programs, are also available for farmers but made it clear that RFFA is not a loan program. 

Dar said the national government has allotted PHP3 billion this year for the nationwide program, and another PHP3 billion next year.

He added the DA will also incentivize the local government units helping the rice farmers cope up with the low prices of ‘palay’ in their jurisdiction through assistance or management of palay prices.

After the cash card distribution, Mayor Garcia with an executive from Agrilever presented a PPP (Public Private Partnership) project to Sec. Dar and was later commend for its idea on how to augment the income of Dinalupihan farmers. 

“This (Dinalupihan town) will be the role model for inclusive agribusiness involving high value crops,” Dar told his regional director and other participants in the said project and media briefing. 

Mayor Garcia since her first term as local chief executive, gears the municipality toward into being a modern agropolis where technological advances meet with agricultural development.