Press Release
December 5, 2019

Villar says transferred funds will augment budget for assistance to farmers

Sen. Cynthia Villar today said the amendment sheproposed in the 2020 budget of the National Food Authority (NFA) will mean abigger budget for the program providing assistance to small farmers.

Villar, chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Foodand sponsor of the proposed budget of the Department of Agriculture, said abigger budget is needed to help farmers affected by the initial phase of theimplementation of Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law, that is whyshe proposed the transfer of P3 billion from NFA to the Land Bank of thePhilippines.

"It is a given that there are difficulties encounteredby farmers when the law took effect that is why we are looking for ways how toextend more assistance to them through bigger budget," Villar said.

Tha Nacionalista Party Senator also allayed fears thatthe transferred funds will affect the palay procurement program of the agency.

"NFA will continue to buy palay from our farmers. Dapatnilang gawin ito para ang mga magsasaka, hindi na sila lalapit sa mgamapagsamantalang traders na babaratin lang ang palay nila," Villar said.

Under the proposed amendment of Villar, P3 billionwill be transferred from NFA to the Landbank of the Philippines for year 2020 toassist the farmers as they adjust to the implementation of the ricetariffication law.

"This fund will go to 600,000 farmers tilling farms ofone hectare or less kaya sigurado tayo na ang assistance mapupunta talaga sakanila. Wala nang excuse para hindi makarating ang tulong ng gobyerno sakanila," 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-producingmunicipalities 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.

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