The Expanded Survival and Recovery Assistance Program’s (SURE Aid) fund allocation now stands at P2.5 million following an infusion of an additional P1 billion as approved by the Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Credit Policy Council’s (DA-ACPC) during its Special Meeting on September 12, 2019 in Manila.
With the fund increase, around 170,000 small rice farmers are expected to benefit from the program which is currently being rolled out in provinces nationwide following its launching in Nueva Ecija on September 2, 2019.
The DA-ACPC, in coordination with the DA Regional Field Offices (DA-RFOs) and the local government units, are already conducting orientations with stakeholders and validations of potential rice farmer-beneficiaries.
Under the SURE Aid Program, rice farmers who are tilling one hectare of land and below, may avail themselves of a one-time, zero-interest, no collateral loan amounting to P15,000 payable up to eight years.
The LANDBANK will manage the P2.5 billion fund from the DA-ACPC by releasing the loans either through direct lending to farmers or through service conduits in unbanked and unserved areas. The DA-ACPC will also provide the LANDBANK with the validated list of farmers eligible for the loan assistance, as well as the list of DA-identified service conduits.
“Sa lahat ng kukuha ng assistance mula sa SURE Aid, lahat ng produkto nila ay bibilhin ng National Food Authority”, said DA Secretary Dar. “Sa SURE Aid, simplified na ang application. Basta rehistrado sa updated RSBSA, validated at endorsed ng mga concerned agencies, maa-approve at mare-release agad ang loan,” he added.
During said launching activity, rice farmers Myraluz Ferrer, Ricardo Pangilinan and Ferdinand Gomez were just three out of the more than 1,000 rice farmers from Nueva Ecija who each received P15,000 through the SURE Aid LANDBANK Cash Cards.
“Masayang masaya po ako dahil isa ako sa nakatanggap ng tulong mula sa gobyerno. Kayang-kaya namin bayaran dahil walang interes,” said rice farmer Myraluz Ferrer from Bongabon, Nueva Ecija.
“Napakalaking bagay po na mapautang kami ng walang kolateral sapagkat kaming mga magsasaka, kumakagat po kami sa mga patubuan,” explained SURE Aid-beneficiary Ricardo Pangilinan from General Tinio, Nueva Ecija.
“Malaking tulong para sa aming magsasaka yung SURE Aid program lalo na’t mahaba haba yung term ng pagbabayad. Makakagaan sa magsasaka para may pandagdag gastos na matagal babayaran,” farmer Ferdinand Gomez from San Jose, Nueva Ecija said.
The SURE Aid Program was created following its approval by the ACPC Governing Council on August 15, 2019. The ACPC Governing Council is composed of the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture (DA) as Chairman; the Governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) as Vice-Chairman; and the Secretaries of the Departments of Budget and Management (DBM), Finance (DoF), and National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) as members.
On August 28, 2019, the DA-ACPC and the LANDBANK signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the implementation of the said program. Said MOA stipulates the working relationship and obligations of the ACPC and LANDBANK.
Currently, the ACPC is redesigning its credit programs to further engage LANDBANK. Among these are the Production Loan Easy Access (PLEA) program, Survival and Recovery (SURE) loan assistance, Working Capital Loan Easy Access (CLEA), and the Agriculture and Fisheries Machineries and Equipment (AFME) loan program. As of May 2019, the PLEA, which offers loans of up to Php 50,000 or Php 150,000 with 6% interest per annum for agri-fishery production, has benefitted over 43,578 small farmer and fisher (SFF) borrowers with a total of Php 1.54 billion in loans granted. Meanwhile, through the SURE, over 18,900 small farmers and fisherfolk affected by calamities have been granted zero-interest loans amounting to a total of Php 242 million, to help them regain their capacity to earn a living. The ACPC has also disbursed a total of Php 45 million through the CLEA and AFME, which have benefitted a total of 7 organizational borrowers, with 300 SFF beneficiaries.