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Some 303 Narra farmers have availed of the P15,000-loan subsidy from the SURE Aid Program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) – Agricultural Credit Policy Council (DA-ACPC) and the Landbank of the Philippines today, November 5, at Narra Centerpoint, Barangay Poblacion, Narra, Palawan.
DA said in a press release that the SURE Aid Program or the Survival and Recovery Assistance Program for Rice Farmers aims to assist rice farmers whose incomes were affected by the drop in the farm gate price of palay due to the Rice Tarrification Law.
Under the program, Filipino rice farmers will have an opportunity to avail a one-time loan assistance of P15,000 to those who are farming one hectare and below at 0% interest rate payable for eight years.
This means that a rice farmer will have to pay-off just a total of P1,875 in eight consecutive years to secure the loan.
The loan program was initiated by DA Secretary William Dar in collaboration of the DA-ACPLC and was bankrolled by Landbank with a total of P1.5 – billion.
The said agencies formally signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on August 28, 2019.
Landbank will also administer the disbursement of loans to eligible rice farmers nationwide who were affected by the Rice Tarrification Law.
Acting Narra Municipal Agriculturist Eugene Sumaydeng, in an interview, said that the program is a big help to Narra farmers who have been experiencing crisis since the drop of the price of palay.
“Apektado tayo. Definitely talagang naapektuhan tayo kasi ‘yung sa presyo pag-baba palang ng presyo. Kung titingnan natin ‘yung gastos ng magsasaka para makapag-produce ng 1 kilogram of rice ay kulang pa doon sa presyo per kilo ngayon na tumatakbo,” Sumaydeng said.
He also said that the Narra local government unit (LGU) has come up with measures on how they could address the concerning problems of their local farmers.
“Mayroon tayong multi-million projects. Municipal rice trading and marketing so papasok na talaga doon, magbi-business na ang munisipyo pero maliit lang ito, hindi tutubo ng malaki. Kasi ‘yan ang tinitingnan natin sa ngayon, ‘yung matulungan ang ating nga farmers,” Sumaydeng said.
According to Sumaydeng, the LGU will buy freshly-harvested palay from their local farmers in a price range of twelve to fourteen pesos per kilo and will dry them in order for them to sell it directly to the National Food Authority (NFA).
Meanwhile, local farmer beneficiaries like Jane Banda felt relieved to avail of the loan program.
“Malaking tulong na sa amin ito, lalo’t pa na malaman na gumagawa din ng paraan ang LGU para matulungan ang mga magsasaka,” Banda said.
Sumaydeng on the other hand, disclosed that the municipal rice trading and marketing program may start by the end of November.