RICE farmers tilling one hectare or less in 24 provinces will receive P5,000 worth of cash transfers to help them buy inputs or feed their families during the Luzon enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.

Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said the subsidies will go to eligible farmers in 24 provinces not covered by the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RFFA) program, part of measures to mitigate the impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

“Our rice farmers will receive it as a direct cash transfer that they can use to buy either farm inputs, food for their families or anything they need,” Mr. Dar said.

The transfers fall under a program known as the Financial Subsidy to Rice Farmers (FSRF).

The DA will start distributing the subsidy to an estimated 600,000 farmers via the Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) this week.

The FSRF funds are earmarked under the 2020 General Appropriations Act.

“We vow to continue helping our small rice farmers, by implementing not only the FSRF and RFFA, but also other major programs such as the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), the SURE Aid loan assistance program, and continuous palay-buying through the National Food Authority — to boost farmers’ productivity and incomes,” Mr. Dar said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave