Cash aid for rice farmers replaced with P15,000 loan

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The government will give every rice farmer affected by cheap imported rice P15,000 one-time, zero-interest loan instead of a yearly P5,000 cash aid.

The loans will come from the P1.5 billion fund for farmers affected by lower palay price as a result of the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL), Department of Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said Friday at the sidelines of a forum on hybrid rice.

Dar said under the funding program, affected rice farmers tilling one hectare of land and below may avail of a P15,000 loan via the Expanded Survival and Recovery Assistance Program for Rice Farmers (SURE Aid).

Providing each of an estimated 1.1 million rice farmers with P5,000 cash will cost the government about P6 billion so the DA decided to simply implement the alternative funding program starting on 1 September 2019.

The National Food Authority (NFA) will also buy the produce of rice farmers who avail of the loan assistance under SURE Aid.

“This loan assistance is a manifestation of the strong desire of the government to help Filipino rice farmers,” Dar said.

Aside from immediate relief to loss of income, the program also intends to help rice farmers regain their capacity to continue their production.

“We will continue to look at measures to improve the living conditions of our rural stakeholders. Rest assured that with RCEF, farmers will increase productivity and earn more,” Dar said.

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p: wjg

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