After successfully piloting the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RFFA) Program first in the province of Pangasinan last year, the Department of Agriculture along with the Landbank of the Philippines (LBP) continues its implementation, this time in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte on Monday, January 13.

RFFA is a cash assistance grant, not a loan program, for rice farmers to ease the initial impact of the Rice Tariffication Law on their incomes.

With the target of 19, 927 farmer beneficiaries in Ilocos Norte, initial 2,000 beneficiaries from the municipalities of Solsona, Badoc, Bacarra and Laoag City received their cash grant worth 5,000 pesos each.

Of the 2,000 initial recipients, 1,041 are from Laoag City, 485 farmers from Badoc, 263 farmers from Bacarra and 211 farmer-beneficiaries from Solsona. Other beneficiaries from remaining municipalities in Ilocos Norte will also be given their cash assistance at a given schedule from DA and Land Bank.

Qualified beneficiaries for the program are those with 0.5 to 2 hectares rice farm area.

The ceremonial launching was led by DA-RFO 1 Regional Executive Director Lucrecio R. Alviar, Jr., RTD for Operations Erlinda F. Manipon, First Vice-President Ma. Belma T. Turla of North Luzon Branches Group of Landbank, Ilocos Norte Vice-Governor Cecilia Araneta Marcos, and other LGU officials.

RFFA, aside from the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) and the Expanded Survival and Recovery Assistance loan programs, targets to help the 600,000 small rice farmers in the country.