Rice farmers to get P5-K cash aid
MANILA, Philippines — The government has decided to distribute P5,000 in cash assistance to rice farmers who continue to reel from plummeting palay prices following the implementation of the rice tariffication law.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar made the announcement during the sidelines of the India-Philippines trade consultation event on Friday, adding that they were hoping to give out the subsidies before Christmas.
The guidelines for the program is currently being drafted.
However, only 600,000 farmers who own one hectare of land or less and are included in the agency’s registry are expected to benefit from the program, or about 20 percent of the entire number of palay farmers nationwide.
Dar said the decision to give the cash dole-out was made after Cabinet officials rejected the imposition of additional tariffs on rice imports due to possible “inflationary effects.”
Dar noted, however, that increasing tariffs on rice would remain a possible option in the future as a means to temper the volume of the staple in the market.
The cash subsidy, which would total to about P3 billion, will come from import duties collected from the rice tariffication law. Tariff receipts from imported rice has already reached P11 billion, Dar said.
Under the law, the first P10 billion to be collected from rice tariffs must be used in specific programs for the modernization of the industry. Anything in excess may be used to supplement the said programs.
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