DA releases P2.6B in loans

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The Department of Agriculture has released more than P2.6 billion in loans under the Expanded SURE Aid and Recovery Project for micro and small enterprises, and small, marginal farmers and fishers adversely affected by the quarantine measures due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

During the third Pre-State of the Nation Address forum yesterday, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the agency, through the Agricultural Credit Policy Council, has released to its partner lending conduits P1.12 billion in loans for eligible farmers and fishers, and P1.5 billion for MSEs.

Dar said, to date, P767 million was lent to some 30,699 small, marginal farmers and fishers, while P646 million was lent to 93 enterprises engaged in agriculture and fisheries production.

Under the SURE Covid-19 loan program, eligible farmers and fishers may borrow up to P25,000, with no collateral, zero interest, and payable in 10 years.

Eligible MSEs may avail of up to P10 million, zero interest, and payable in five years. A micro or small enterprise may be a single proprietorship, partnership, corporation, cooperative, or association.

Aside from the loan program, Dar said the DA has also extended financial subsidy to rice farmers (FSRF), with a total of 591,246 beneficiaries.

The P5,000 cash subsidy is part of the DA’s initiatives to assist small rice farmers, who plant one hectare or less, located in 24 provinces not covered under the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance program.

The P3-billion FSRF fund is earmarked under the 2020 General Appropriations Act.

For the RFFA, Dar said another P3 billion was allocated and some 597,404 beneficiaries benefited from this amelioration program.

The RFFA is an unconditional cash transfer program that aims to give P5,000 financial assistance each to rice farmers tilling 0.5 to 2 hectares of land in 33 provinces nationwide.*PNA

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