Philippines: Government to release fresh PHP3bn cash assistance for farmers

  • The government will release another PHP3bn in cash assistance to farmers affected by the steep drop in palay (unhusked rice) prices following the opening up of the rice industry to cheap imports.
  • In a briefing on 19 Nov 19, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said PHP3bn would be released by 2020 on top of the earlier PHP3bn announced.
  • “A total of PHP6bn for 2019 and 2020 will be given as unconditional cash assistance and we will zero in this time around for farmers tilling 1.01 to two hectares at the level of PHP5,000 each farmer,” Dar said.
  • About PHP3bn is expected to be disbursed to some 600,000 farmers starting Dec 19 as soon as guidelines are finished. The other PHP3bn, targeted to be released in 2020, will also cover 600,000 farmers.
  • The cash assistance will be taken from the excess tariffs being collected under the Rice Tariffication Law. The government has so far collected PHP11.4bn since the law took effect in Mar 19.
  • The Bureau of Customs earlier said revenues from the opening up of the rice market would likely yield PHP15bn in 2019, exceeding the PHP10bn target under the law.
  • “Any excess from the tariff will be used for cash transfer and support for crop insurance and crop diversification programs,” Dar said.
  • The tariff collection from rice importation will be allocated for the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund, which will be used for programs to boost the productivity and global competitiveness of local farmers.
  • The excess of the PHP10bn will likewise go to the farmers especially those affected by the drop in palay prices.

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