DA to launch farmer database by March

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corn farmers
Farmers harvest corn along the road of Roxas, Isabela province. -- PHILIPPINE STAR/KRIZ-JOHN ROSALES

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) is set to launch a database of farmers and fishermen containing information on assistance provided to them, within the current quarter.

The project, which will be called National Farmers and Fishermen’s Database (NFFD), will geo-tag the locations of their farms and houses, and will seek to monitor improvements in their livelihood two years after the assistance was provided.

“This program is expected to effectively assist the Department of Agriculture (DA) in targeting the real beneficiaries of its programs, especially the Easy Access Credit Program under the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC),” Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said in a Facebook post on Monday.

“It will also weed out ‘fake farmers’ who usually take advantage of government’s assistance to farmers by presenting themselves as beneficiaries,” he added.

Mr. Piñol said that incentives to be given by the National Food Authority (NFA) to farmers, for selling their rice to the government, will also be reflected in the NDDF.

“With this program, the NFA will be able to determine whether the palay delivered to its buying stations really came from the farmer or was just consolidated by traders who would like to take advantage of the higher government support price,” Mr. Piñol added.

“The program will accurately record all transactions made by the farmer with the NFA and what incentives he will receive, including the recording of his loans under the ‘Cash Advance’ Credit Program and the payments he has made,” Mr. Piñol added.

The cash advance program will be made available to farmers soon, to help reduce their dependence on usurers, Mr. Piñol said. The cash advance will only be made available to rice farmers, including tenants of landowners who will sell their produce to the NFA.

The cash advance will require no collateral but will come with a service fee of 3% payable after every harvest or in six months. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio