State-owned Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) has signed an agreement with the Department of Agriculture (DA) for the distribution of cash subsidies to around 900,000 marginal farmers under the DA’s Cash and Food Subsidy to Marginal Farmers and Fishers (CFSMFF) program, a top official said.
DBP President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel G. Herbosa said that this newly-developed DA program utilizes financial technology through the use of an e-voucher system to ensure more efficient and transparent program implementation.
“Through the e-voucher system, beneficiaries can claim their cash assistance of P3000 each at any DBP-accredited payout center by presenting their government-issued ID and the unique reference code sent via text message by the implementing agencies,” Herbosa said.
DBP is the seventh largest bank in the country in terms of assets and has a branch network of 129 branches including 11 branch units, which are mostly situated in underserved areas of the country.
Under the CFSMFF, eligible marginal farmers and fisherfolk who are enrolled in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture will receive a subsidy of P5,000 each – P3,000 in cash and P2,000 worth of food items
A total of 890,794 farmers and fisherfolk are expected to benefit from the program. Out of these number, 346,534 are coconut farmers, 287,128 fisherfolk, 198,023 are corn farmers, 29,702 are sugarcane farmers, while the remaining 29,407 are members of the indigenous communities.
Herbosa said DBP has been working closely with DA on a number of financial inclusion initiatives during the past year such as cash aid disbursements under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund and enrolment with DBP of over 5,000 farmer-members.
He said DBP and DA likewise partnered in the implementation of the Farmer Financial Assistance Program to facilitate the release of more than P1.4-billion in cash aid to nearly 300,000 farmers.
“I am confident that the CFSMFF program would be able to achieve its noble goals which includes providing market support to local producers of rice, chicken, and eggs; and opening up sources of livelihood for farmers, farmer cooperatives and associations, and micro enterprises as distribution partners in the program,” Herbosa said.
DBP Executive Vice President for Branch Banking Susan Z. Prado said this latest partnership with the DA serves as a viable mechanism to provide much-needed government intervention to the marginal members of the agricultural sector who have borne the brunt of the economic slowdown.
She said over the past year, DBP’s initiatives have focused mainly on facilitating assistance to the most affected sectors of society as they gradually recover and rebuild from the devastating effects of the global health crisis.
“DBP is emboldened by these programs and we hope that the beneficiaries would be able to put to good use the assistance given to them so that they can recover and rebuild their lives despite the current pandemic,” Prado said.