Philippines rolls out farmers' ID-cash card
“This year’s rollout of the RSBSA-IMC is a milestone in the history of Philippine agriculture,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar, during the 123rd anniversary of DA on June 23, 2021.
“With the ID cum cash card, RSBSA-listed farmers can now have easy access to government interventions, starting with the second round of the Rice Farmers’ Financial Assistance (RFFA) worth P5,000 each. It is funded by the excess tariffs collected from imported rice as provided under the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL). The RFFA payout will commence in October 2021,” the DA chief added.
As per the RTL or RA 11203, the RFFA will be given to rice farmers owning or tilling rice farms two hectares and below, whether they continue rice farming or not, said DA Assistant Secretary for Operations Arnel de Mesa.
According to the Bureau of Customs (BOC), from March 2019, when the RTL took effect, to December 2019, it has collected P12.3 billion (B) in rice tariffs, and P15.494 B last year.
Less the P10-B yearly allotment for the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement (RCEF) program, the remaining P7.794 B can be earmarked by Congress for financial assistance to rice farmers, and other purposes that include titling of farmlands, expanded crop insurance program for rice, and crop diversification.
The RSBSA-IMC includes farmers of other crops, fishers, hog raisers, and other agri-fishery workers and stakeholders.
Since the RSBSA was updated in late 2019, more than 3.55 million farmers and fishers have already enrolled, of which 79 percent (%) or 2.8 million were already encoded through the farmers and fisherfolk registration system (FFRS) online platform.
The DA — through its field operations service (FOS), information and communication technology service (ICTS), and regional field offices (RFOs) — in partnership with local government units (LGUs) continues to validate and enroll farmers and fisherfolk in the RSBSA.
The registry system contains the names and addresses of legitimate farmers, farm laborers, and fishers, and their respective production areas, among other basic information. It serves as the primary requirement in availing of “OneDA” programs and services such as the RCEF, insurance coverage, credit and financing, and farm and fishery inputs, among others.
Based on the FFRS, the biggest number of farmers and fisherfolk registered are from Western Visayas (with 369,281), Ilocos Region (363,119), Cagayan Valley (275,045), and Central Luzon (247,833).
The average age of the encoded farmers and fisherfolk is 49 years old. Enrolled male farmers and fisherfolk, totaling 1.68 million or 60%, outnumber their female counterparts.
The top commodities produced are palay with an area of 6.72 million hectares, followed by corn with 2.85 million hectares. The FFRS also identified 50,556 cooperatives and associations, 113,847 agrarian reform beneficiaries, 326,622 indigenous peoples, and 562,810 4Ps beneficiaries.
In terms of beneficiaries, de Mesa said that under Bayanihan 2, the DA has served 2.44 million farmers as of April 2021, and more than three million under RCEF as of May 2021. ■