THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said it introduced a card that will serve both as identification and a cash card to access government assistance for farmers enrolled in the farmer’s registry.

Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar launched the ‘Interventions Monitoring Card’ for farmers listed in the registry system for basic sectors in agriculture (RSBSA) during the DA’s anniversary on Wednesday.

Mr. Dar said during the launch that the card was a collaboration with the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), Rural Bank Association of the Philippines (RBAP), and SquidPay.

“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 Republic Act No. 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law. The RFFA payout will commence in October 2021,” Mr. Dar said.

The launch of the card was formalized with the signing of a memorandum of agreement among Mr. Dar, DBP President Emmanuel G. Herbosa, RBAP President Elizabeth Carlos-Timbol, and SquidPay President May Arboleda-Cuevas.

According to Agriculture Assistant Secretary Arnel V. De Mesa, the RFFA is given to rice farmers tilling or owning rice farms two hectares or less.

The card will also benefit other farmers in the agriculture sector such as hog raisers as well as fishing communities.

According to the DA, a total of 3.55 million are enrolled in the RSBSA.

The DA said the highest number of registered farmers and fishermen are from the Western Visayas at 369,281, followed by the Ilocos Region at 363,119, Cagayan Valley at 275,045, and Central Luzon at 247,833.

“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 the DA’s programs and services such as the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), insurance coverage, credit and financing, and farm and fishery inputs, among others,” the DA said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave