ASSISTANCE TO FARMERS. Maria Teresa Solis (right), chief of the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division of the Department of Agriculture in Western Visayas (DA-6), shares the assistance being extended to farmers during the School-on-the-Air Program on Tuesday. In a follow-up interview on Wednesday (Aug. 31, 2022), she said associations and cooperatives have to be DA-accredited to avail of the Enhanced Kadiwa ni Ani At Kita Financial Grant. (Photo screen grab from DA live streaming)

ILOILO CITY – The Department of Agriculture (DA) through its Enhanced Kadiwa ni Ani At Kita Financial Grant has assisted farmers' groups in Western Visayas chosen by recipient local government units (LGUs), cooperatives, and associations in their trading business, including rice trading.

Data provided by the DA Western Visayas Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD) showed they have already released PHP37.35 million to 18 cooperatives, 13 LGUs, and six associations in the region since the start of the program in 2021.

“We give grants for eligible associations for their trading capital. The grant ranges from PHP50,000 up to PHP1 million depending on the size of the association,” AMAD chief Maria Teresa Solis in an interview on Wednesday.

For LGUs, among those provided were the towns of Dumangas, Lambunao, Carles, Calinog, Tubungan, San Miguel, Batad, Badiangan, and Alimodian in Iloilo; Sibalom and Sebaste in Antique; Ibajay in Aklan and Kabankalan in Negros Occidental.

“They gave it to the association or cooperative of their choice,” Solis added.

However, she said PHP1 million is not enough, especially if the group engages in rice trading.

She cited, in particular, the Kalipunan ng mga Magsasaka sa Patnongon in Antique, which serves not only farmers in their town but also neighboring municipalities.

Solis said their buying rate for palay is dependent on the market price. If the buying price from traders is between PHP10 to PHP12 per kilo, then farmers’ cooperative offers PHP15 to PHP17 a kilo.

She added that rice trading complements the buffer stock of the National Food Authority (NFA) since the latter is one of their markets.

The provision of assistance started last year and will continue as long as they have a budget coming from the DA.

Farmers' cooperatives or associations interested in availing of their assistance need to first secure accreditation from the department. (PNA)