Senator Cynthia Villar assured the public that her proposed amendment in the 2020 budget of the National Food Authority will mean a bigger budget for the program providing assistance to small farmers.
Villar, chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Food and sponsor of the proposed budget of the Department of Agriculture, said a bigger budget is needed to help farmers affected by the initial phase of the implementation of Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law.
She said this is why she recommended the transfer of P3 billion from NFA to the Land Bank of the Philippines.
“It is a given that there are difficulties encountered by the farmers when the law took effect that is why we are looking for ways how to give more assistance to them through bigger budget,” Villar said.
Tha Nacionalista Party senator also allayed fears that the transferred funds will affect the palay procurement extend program of the agency.
She said the NFA will continue to buy palay from our farmers.
“They should do this so that our farmers will no longer go to abusive traders who will buy their produce at very, very low price,” she said.
Under the proposed amendment of Villar, P3 billion will be transferred from NFA to the LandBank for year 2020 to assist the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law.
“This fund will go to 600,000 farmers tilling farms of one hectare or less kaya sigurado tayo na ang
assistance mapupunta talaga sakanila. Wala nang
excuse para hindi makarating ang tulong ng gobyerno sa kanila
,” Villar said.
During a Senate hearing on the implementation of RA11203, Villar scolded NFA officials for coming up with excuses such as the lackof machinery and the high moisture content of palay for refusing to buy fromlocal farmers.
Under the P10 billion Rice Competitiveness EnhancementFund created under the rice tariffication law, P5 billion will be spent toprocure farm machinery to be distributed to more than 900 rice-producing municipalities in the country; P3 billion for the production and promotion ofthe use of inbred seeds which will increase the production of palay by 50percent; P1 billion for skills training; and P1 billion for cheap credit whichwill be managed by Landbank and the Development Bank of the Philippines.