DAVAO DEL NORTE, Sept. 23 (PIA)- Various forms of assistance are available for rice farmers in the midst of rice tariffication implementation.
Guesting at the Kapihan sa DavNor, Department of Agriculture Regional Information Officer Noel Provido explained "rice tariffication as something that should not be feared."
Citing this as a requirement to the GATT WTO (General Agreement on Tariff and Trade World Trade Organization) in which the Philippines is one of the state signatories, he said the law was signed on February this year by President Rodrigo Duterte and its Implementing Rules and Regulation (IRR) was released in June.
Provido explained that crucial to the implementation of such law is the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), providing P10 billion taken from the annual tariff imposed on imported rice from other countries.
In rolling out RCEF, government banking institution such as Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) will also extending loan assistance to farmers, he said.
Distribution of farm machinery also forms part of the interventions for farmers that the national government is set to provide in implementing the Rice Tariffication Law.
"The bidding for mechanization will start September, and hopefully within the year we could start the distribution of the machineries in identified areas within the country," Provido said.
Aside from the assistance of the Philippine Center for Post-harvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) on farm mechanization, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) will also be at hand in providing training for farmers to use mechanized farm implements, Provido said.
Part of the bid of Rice Tarification to increase rice farm productivity and thereby bring down the cost of production, DA will also be providing choice certified seeds through DA-Agriculture
However, Provido revealed some requirements that farmers have to comply for them to benefit from RCEF, and to avail of other agricultural incentives due to farmers relative to Rice Tariffication implementation.
Farmers have to be enrolled in the Registry System for Basic Sector in Agriculture (RSBSA). For them to be registered, they need to present land title, contract of agreement if the land is under lease. DA also requires farmers to organize themselves into associations of farmers or farm irrigators.
"This is being spoused by our (DA) Secretary; they organize themselves into farmer's association, irrigators association, and if possible they scale up into cooperative," Provido said in explaining the relevance of consolidating the strength of farmers to achieve sufficient volume of production and to haggle a much better price with traders.
"Wala man gud tay volume ma istoryahan pag dli nato i-consolidate. So mao nang farmers should group themselves, strengthen nila ang ilang organization para maka avail sila ana na mga services. (We cannot speak of volume if we would not consolidate. So farmers have to group themselves, strengthen their organization to avail of the services," he said. (PIA XI/Jeanevive Duron Abangan)