DBM allots P11B for RCEF, farmers, fisherfolk
BY BELLA CARIASO
The Manila Times
THE Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has allocated P10 billion for the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) and P1 billion for the assistance to FARMERS AND fisherfolk IN 2023. Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman told senators that of the P1-billion assistance to farmers AND fisherfolk, P510.45 million IS lodged under the budget of the Department of Agriculture (DA) for corn farmers, while P489.6 million allocated for fisherfolk was incorporated under the 2023 proposed budget of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. RCEF is intended to improve the productivity and competitiveness of local rice farmers and increase their income through the provision of farm machinery and equipment, rice seed development, propagation, and promotion, expanded rice credit assistance and rice extension services. “The fiscal YEAR 2023 BUDGET FOR assistance in the agriculture sector is doubled from P500 million this year. Of course, providing better support to our producers is vital in achieving food security which is one of the near-term goals of the administration,” Pangandaman said during the second day of the Development Budget Coordina-tion Committee Senate briefing. At the same time, Pangandaman assured the proper implementation of the agriculture programs. “With the new leadership of the Department of Agriculture, we believe they’d be able to disburse and absorb the levels that we have provided,” Pangandaman added. For his part, Agriculture Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban said complementing the RCEF is the National Rice Program which aims to increase the country’s rice production. “Under this initiative, DA targets to provide quality seeds, fertilizers, postharvest and processing facilities, and technical assistance to 4.82 million individuals and 986 farmers’ groups,” Panganiban said. He said market development services and other technical assistance will be extended to 527,043 fisherfolk and 19,788 fisher groups across the country.