The Department of Agriculture (DA) is set to release a total of PHP23.65 million in cash assistance for the first batch of small rice farmers in Negros Occidental, who are beneficiaries of the Financial Subsidy to Rice Farmers (FSRF) program.
As of Wednesday, an initial 4,731 farmers have been confirmed to receive a one-time subsidy of PHP5,000 each to help them cope with the adverse effects of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) crisis.
Engineer Jose Albert Barrogo, DA 6 (Western Visayas) team leader for Negros Occidental, said they have received information that the said number of small rice farmers in the province has been verified and included in the payroll.
The cash assistance will be released through the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), which has designated 10 branches in the province to cater to the beneficiaries.
A list of 19,344 small rice farmers in Negros Occidental has been submitted by the DA-6 for verification, Barrogo said.
Qualified to receive the financial assistance are those with farm areas of one hectare or less.
For Negros Occidental, the DA has an allocation of about PHP102 million out of the PHP3-billion fund set aside by the agency for recipient-rice farmers nationwide.
Barrogo said about 2,000 additional rice farmers have also been listed by local government units (LGUs) for submission to DA-6.
Once verified and approved, Negros Occidental will have some 21,344 farmer-recipients, more than the initial target of 20,488.
Barrogo urged farmers to use the cash assistance for their families’ basic needs and farm inputs, such as seeds and fertilizers, for the first cropping season. (PNA)