ILOILO CITY— According to the Department of Agriculture (DA-6), a P20-million project funded by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) is aiding rice farmers in Panay Island to ride out the impact of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

DA-6 Western Visayas Regional Director Remelyn Recoter said KOICA’s Emergency Rice Support Project (ERSP) purchased of 4,000 bags of locally-produced rice coming from Panay Island that was sent to Metro Manila to donate to more than 30,000 households that have been affected by quarantine measures against COVID-19.

An initial 2,000 bags of rice donations were purchased from farmers in San Miguel town, Iloilo province through its local government unit (LGU) and was sent to the Resource Operations Center of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Metro Manila for distribution.

The LGU of San Miguel was tapped to lead the procurement of rice stocks in Panay Island as a KOICA recipient of the Regional Local Food Terminal (LFT) under the Panay Island Upland Sustainable Rural Development Project (PIU-SRDP).

For the San Miguel Farmers Agriculture Cooperative, KOICA’s ERSP can further boost the marketing of the LFT.

Cooperative chairman Jose Pepe Caoyonan said rice farmers are able sell their palay (unmilled rice) at a higher price because of KOICA’s ERSP.