Marginal but significant

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          The Department of Agriculture virtually launched last week the Cash and Food Subsidy for Marginal Farmers and Fisherfolk program with a P4.5 billion allocation.

          The program aims to provide direct food and financial assistance, worth P5,000, to eligible beneficiaries from different sectors in agriculture and fisheries registered under the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture. Of the amount, P3,000 will be given in cash while the remaining P2,000 will be in kind, including rice, chicken and eggs.

          It primarily aims to provide secured and direct food and financial assistance to farmers and fishers whose incomes were severely affected by the pandemic. It also aims to provide market support to local producers of chicken and rice and give a source of livelihood to micro, small, and medium enterprises as DA’s distribution partners.

          A total of 890,794 farmers and fishers are poised to receive the subsidy, including 346,534  coconut  farmers, 287,128  fishers, 198,023 corn farmers, 29,702 sugarcane farmers, and 29,407 members of indigenous peoples.

          This program is part of the P24 billion the Department of Agriculture received under the Bayanihan 2, aimed at revitalizing the country’s economy amid the pandemic.

          Initiatives such as these that aim to revitalize the economy and help the small farmers and fishers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic are always welcome and if the DA can ensure that the funds get to the target communities and sectors, this assistance that comes in the form of direct cash and economy-boosting purchases from other small agribusiness people, should have a significant impact on revitalizing not only the economy, but many affected sectors as well.

          The marginalized farmers and fisherfolk of the country that make up a significant chunk of our agriculture sector will certainly appreciate any form of government assistance during these difficult times. Any assistance that allows them to continue working their fields and keep their dignity would be worth the cost.*

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