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May 2024

National rice program gets P30.8B under 2024 budget

By LLANESCA T. PANTI, GMA Integrated News

The country’s national rice program (NRP) under the Department of Agriculture has been allocated P30.8 billion under the P5.768 trillion national budget for 2024, Bicol Saro party-list lawmaker Brian Yamsuan said Wednesday.
Yamsuan said that the P30.8 billion budget for the rice program, which is slightly higher than last year’s allocation of P30.2 billion, aims to improve rice production despite a prolonged dry spell.

This P30.8 billion is broken down to:

  • P24.11 billion for production support services including establishing community seed banks, support to Regional Integrated Agricultural Research Centers, buffer seed stocking, insurance coverage for disaster response, and pest control measures.
  • P1.01 billion for irrigation network services.
  • P2.04 billion for extension support, education, and training services under the NRP, among others.

“The budget for the NRP is on top of the allocations for other national programs related to rice production and locally funded projects to benefit palay producers under the 2024 GAA (General Appropriations Act),” Yamsuan said, referring to the other billions of assistance for small rice producers sourced from tariff collections off rice imports as provided under the Rice Tariffication Law.

Under the said law, rice import tariff collections in excess of P10 billion should go directly to farmers tilling two hectares of land and below in the form of cash grants. 

Yamsuan said that as of November 2023, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) has already collected P25.55 billion in rice tariff, which means a surplus of at least  P15.5 billion that will go to small rice planters this year.

“We are confident that not only the agriculture department, but other agencies across all other concerned sectors would be fully prepared for this prolonged dry spell to ensure that our rice farmers get all the support they need to continue improving their productivity and incomes amid this challenge,” Yamsuan added.

Yasmuan is the author of House Bill 9129 which seeks to institutionalize the use of crop climate calendars tailor-made to each specific locality.

President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. served as Agriculture Secretary from July 1, 2022 until he appointed former business executive Francisco Tiu Laurel, Jr. to the post in November 2023. 

Last month, the President also issued Executive Order No. 50 extending the reduced tariffs on rice and other food items until end-2024 to keep prices stable amid the threat of El Niño  in the months ahead. —VAL, GMA Integrated News QR Code

Published Date: January 3, 2024

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