DOF: P8.2B spent on cash aid to ease imports’ impact on PH farmers | Inquirer Business
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DOF: P8.2B spent on cash aid to ease imports’ impact on PH farmers

By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 05:23 PM June 13, 2022

Farmers stand to earn more by getting cheaper capital from Cropital. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—During the three years after the government liberalized rice trade, more than one million rice farmers received a total of over P8.2 billion in cash aid to ease the pain inflicted by the influx of imports, the Department of Finance (DOF) said on Monday (June 13).

Citing a Department of Agriculture (DA) report, the DOF said the government financial institutions (GFIs) Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) and Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) facilitated the release of direct and unconditional cash aid from 2019 to 2021.

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Under Republic Act (RA) No. 11203, or the Rice Tariffication Act, import duties collected in excess of P10-billion yearly for rice competitiveness enhancement fund (RCEF) may be given away as financial assistance to qualified small rice growers, the DOF noted.

The Rice Tariffication Act put in place the DA’s rice farmers financial assistance program, under which beneficiaries who received cash aid amounting to P5,000 must be listed in the registry system for basic sectors in agriculture.

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“The law also mandated that all rice tariffs in excess of P10 billion must be used solely for financial assistance until 2024 to farmers each tilling two hectares or below,” the DOF added.

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) recorded excess rice import tariff collections amounting to P2.1 billion in 2019, P5.5 billion in 2020, and P8.9 billion in 2021.

In all, the BOC collected a cumulative P46.6 billion in rice tariffs from March 2019 until end-2021, of which P30 billion automatically went to the annual RCEF, a program to improve local rice production to make it highly competitive with imports.

Last month, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua, also National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) chief, said the Rice Tariffication Act benefitted a total of two million farmers, 110 million consumers, and tens of thousands of millers, retailers and wholesalers.

It also benefitted those engaged in transport and warehousing businesses, who Chua said enjoyed not only lower rice retail prices but also improved domestic production due to the RCEF.

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TAGS: Cash Aid, DoF, PH agriculture, rice importation, rice tariffs
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