THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said it entered into an agreement with the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) to offer an e-voucher program which will deliver subsidies to farmers and fisherfolk.

Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar and DBP President Emmanuel G. Herbosa signed the memorandum of agreement and implementing guidelines of the subsidy program on Nov. 9.

The cash assistance and food program has an allocation of P4.5 billion under Republic Act No. 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan II) and is projected to benefit around 900,000 farmers and fisherfolk.

Eligible beneficiaries enrolled in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture will receive P5,000 worth of assistance that consists of P2,000 in food and P3,000 in cash.

Under the e-voucher system created by the DA, farmer beneficiaries can claim their cash assistance at DBP-accredited payment centers by presenting a government-issued identification card and the unique reference code sent by the implementing agencies.

Food assistance can be claimed at DA-accredited outlets participating in its Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita program.

Dennis M. Layug, DA senior adviser on information technology and farm digitalization, said the new system provides an efficient delivery system for aid, and facilitates monitoring of disbursements.

Mr. Dar said the program aims to help marginal farmers, fisherfolk, enterprises, and farm industries affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

The program hopes in particular to reach beneficiaries “not included in previous amelioration programs that catered to rice farmers,” Mr. Dar said.

The program’s implementing agencies include the DA Corn Program, Philippine Coconut Authority, Sugar Regulatory Administration, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples for the corn, sugarcane, fisheries, and indigenous peoples sub-sectors. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave