Another P1.5 billion (B) from the National Rice Program budget of the Department of Agriculture has been allotted to help the Filipino rice farmers affected by the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law.

This was announced by Secretary William D. Dar during a Farmers’ Forum held at The Orchid’s Hotel in San Fernando, Pampanga on November 30, 2019.

The supplemental budget will be used for the fertilization program that will be carried out simultaneously with the P10B Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF). Under this program, a “buy 2 take 2” scheme will be administered where farmers can purchase two bags or Urea and get another two bags for free.

RCEF, which has released its first tranche late October, allots P5B for rice farm machinery and equipment, P3B for rice seed development, propagation and promotion, P1B for credit, and another P1B for extension.

“The Department has also created new credit programs for farmers and fishers to help them increase productivity and income,” Dar said.

Under the Expanded Survival and Recovery Assistance Program (SURE Aid), farmers tilling one hectare or less farmland may avail of a P15,000 zero interest rate loan.

“Rice farmers just have to pay P1,850 per year for eight years, maliit lang po yun,” Dar said.

He added that a new credit window has been opened for farmers tilling more than one hectare.

“This one-time financial assistance worth P5,000 is another cash outright-no condition SURE Aid loan to help our rice farmers,” he said.