Gov?t releases P1.3B for farmer registry system

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Those involved in the project are the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), National Statistics Office (NSO), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC). The RSBSA is a nationwide database of baseline information of farmers, farm laborers, and fisher folk from identified provinces, as well as geographical coordinates of agricultural and fishery workers households. The data will be used as basis for developing programs and policies for the agriculture and fishery sectors. DBM secretary Florencio B. Abad said the project will address the urgent need for a comprehensive and systematic information system that will help the government identify and locate farmers, farm laborers, and fishermen that are target beneficiaries of agriculture-related programs and services. ?For the first time in our history, the rural poor ? including small owner-cultivators, land holders, tenants, and regular and seasonal farm workers ? will have their names and addresses duly registered in a comprehensive database. This will end years of anomalies, where farm subsidies and agricultural programs like rice procurement and the provision of cheap rice only end up with traders and affluent farmers,? Abad said. He said the database will be a valuable part of the current administration?s planning and policy-making strategy for the agri-fisheries sector, paving fore the accurate determination of the number of farmers and fishermen who will benefit from government subsidies and aid. ?The RSBSA also serves as an excellent auditing mechanism by ensuring that only the poorest will benefit from our agricultural programs, thus reinforcing President Aquino?s campaign for transparency and accountability in the delivery of critical goods and services,? Abad noted. The NSO conducted the surveys and began the first phase of the project with 20 pilot provinces, namely, Abra, Apayao, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Romblon, Camarines Sur, Masbate, Siquijor, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, Western Samar, Zamboanga del NOrte, Davao Oriental, North Cotabato, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur. The provinces were chosen based on their poverty incidence, engagement in agricultural work, and vulnerability to calamities. Under the first phase of the project, the NSO registered a total of 2,116,313 farmers, farm laborers and fisher folk in targeted provinces. Meanwhile, the second phase of the project will cover 55 more provinces to complete the list of households and the registration of farmers, farm laborers, and fisher folk. Abad also emphasized the urgency of completing the RSBSA, especially in light of the remittance of the proceeds of sale of coco levy funds to the government. ?The proceeds from the sale of coco levy funds are supposed to uplift the lives of small farmers, most of whom have lived for years in poverty. Prior to this, however, we had no real data to guide planners on who the farmers are, where they live, and what their standard of living is. With the RSBSA in place, however, the information we now have will facilitate the judicious use of these funds, so that the coconut farmers themselves will benefit directly from the proceeds,? Abad said. ]]>

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