In line with the continued updating of the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA), the Department of Agriculture (DA) will provide validated farmers their respective “Interventions Monitoring Card” or IMC that serves as an identification (ID) and 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 is a result of the DA’s partnership with the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), Rural Bank Association of the Philippines (RBAP), and service provider SQuidPay. The partnership was formalized with the signing of a memorandum of agreement among Secretary Dar, DBP President and CEO Emmanuel Herbosa, RBAP President Liza Timbol, and SQuidPay President May Cuevas.
During the launch, the process of validating and printing of the RSBSA-IMC and payout of P5,000 cash was demonstrated, involving two lady farmers from Rizal, Sheryl Navarra and Leonora dela Cruz.
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.
Through the years, more than 14 million farmers have benefited under various programs of the “OneDA” family, namely:
- Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) Agricultural Insurance Program (AIP): 11,824,635 farmers and fisherfolk have benefited since 2016;
- Financial Subsidy for Rice Farmers (FSRF) Program: 536,119 farmers;
- Cash and Food Subsidy for Marginal Farmers and Fishers (CFSMFF) – 827,601 beneficiaries of cash subsidy and 749,668 beneficiaries of food subsidy; and
- Under the DA-Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) Survival and Recovery Assistance Programs (Regular, Expanded SURE Covid-19, SURE Hogs, SURE Aid Taal, and Expanded SURE Aid for Rice Farmers) – 281,591 individuals and 158 groups.
“Nagdakkel ti pagyamanan mi ta inikkan da kami ti kastoy nga magamit mi iti panagtalon mi ken dagitoy kakadwa mi ket matulungan mi met isuda nga manam-ayan ti panagtalon mi (We are so thankful that we have been given these [four-wheel tractor and hand tractor] that we can use in planting, and help make farming easier for our members),” Makukuli Farmers Association, Inc. Chairman Rolando Gajusan said during the RCEF farm machinery distribution in Pangasinan.
“Dako kaayo akong pasalamat sa DA nga nagtabang namong mga mag-uuma pinaagi sa RFFA. Makatabang nig dako sa among pagpangandam sa umaabot nga tingtanum (I am very grateful to the DA for helping us farmers through the RFFA. This will greatly help us in our preparation for the coming planting season),” said Gavino Bongcawil, Sr., RSBSA-enrolled farmer and RFFA beneficiary in Zamboanga del Sur.
During the DA anniversary program, Senator Cynthia Villar and Congressman Mark Enverga — chair of the committee on agriculture and food, at the Senate and House of Representatives, respectively — gave their message virtually.
The event was chaired by Usec Zamzamin Ampatuan, with co-chair Usec Evelyn Lavina. The event was attended physically and virtually by about 1,000 officials and employees of the “OneDA” family nationwide. ### (DA-AFID)