Is the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) one of the big silver linings of 2020? We think so.
As we battle through the pandemic, it can be hard to see the silver lining among all the negative news. However, there’s a surprising source of inspiration in the unlikeliest of places. The once-controversial RTL may just be the saving grace our country’s agricultural sector desperately needs.
The RTL, authored by Senator Cynthia Villar, provides a safety net for the country’s millions of farmers in the time of COVID-19. It was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2019 and pushes to revamp the decades-old agricultural system of the Philippines.
The key component is the establishment of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF). It provides and guarantees a ₱10 billion annual budget for 2019-2024, ensuring the swift recovery of our country’s agricultural industry.
Sure budget for our farmers
In the RTL, the allocation of that annual budget is as follows:
- ₱5 billion (50%) – procurement of farm equipment (tillers, tractors, threshers, etc.)
- ₱3 billion (30%) – development, promotion, distribution, and production of seeds
- ₱1 billion (10%) – credit for farmers, with 2% interest per year
- ₱1 billion (10%) – to training programs for teaching skills on production and modern rice farming techniques
The Rice Tariffication Law is such a landmark piece of legislation that even staunch Duterte critic Solita Monsod was all praises for it.
Our farmers have access to this budget that the RTL has set aside. This should help alleviate the impact of the pandemic on their livelihoods. As a result, our agriculture workers are being cared for now. At the same time, they’re being equipped with more technology and knowledge for the future.
Agri: one of the main drivers for economic growth
This greatly bolsters the efforts of the Duterte Administration as it pushes for economic recovery in the time of COVID-19.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said in an earlier briefing that agriculture will be one of the main drivers for economic recovery. He explained that the government’s recovery program is heavily reliant on the continuation of “Build, Build, Build,” as well as the strengthening of the country’s agricultural sector.
The benefits of the RTL continue to manifest, and they could not have come at a better time. More importantly, our farmers, in these trying times, find themselves with some help.