TACLOBAN CITY – The Department of Agriculture has extended cash assistance to more than 4,000 farmers in Northern Samar province under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund – Rice Farmers’ Financial Assistance (RCEF-RFFA) Program.

Recipients are farmers from 19 towns of Northern Samar, who got PHP5,000 each.

DA Eastern Visayas Regional Executive Director Andrew Orais said in an interview Wednesday the department held a distribution caravan of over P20 million cash aid in Northern Samar on May 15 to 17 and May 22-24, 2024.

Beneficiaries are from the towns of Catarman, Lope De Vega, San Jose, Bobo, Mapanas, – Gamay, Lapinig, Laoang, Capul, Biri, San Antonio, San Isidro, Victoria, Allen, Lavezares, Rosario, Mondragon, San Roque, Pambujan, and Las Navas.

“We have been encouraging farmer recipients to put to good use the said support as they cope with rising production costs and sustain productivity,” Orais said.

The RCEF-RFFA provides a P5,000 financial assistance to Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture-registered rice farmers tilling rice areas below two hectares.

This assistance is sourced from the additional funds received by the DA through the tariffs generated under Republic Act 11203, the Rice Tariffication Law.

The tariff automatically appropriates P5 billion for the provision of farm machinery and equipment, P3 billion for certified inbred seeds, P1 billion for credit, and P1 billion for training and extension, or a total of P10 billion.

The Rice Tariffication Law approved in February 2019 removed quantitative restrictions on rice imports and replaced them with a 35 percent import tariff.