To help more small farmers and fisherfolk recover from production losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Agriculture – through its credit policy arm – Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Land Bank of the Philippines for the continuous implementation of the Expanded Survival and Recovery Project or SURE COVID-19 on December 15, 2020.

Agriculture Secretary and ACPC Chair, William D. Dar turned over P 1 Billion worth of loan fund to LANDBANK through its President and CEO, Cecilia C. Borromeo.

“Today is yet another significant moment in the history of the DA-ACPC and LANDBANK’s strong partnership aimed at providing small farmers and fisherfolk access to sustainable credit. This cooperation is all the more crucial and timely since we are still in this pandemic that has adversely impacted many of our farmers and fishers whom we also consider as frontliners in our battle against COVID-19,” said DA-ACPC Executive Director Jocelyn Alma R. Badiola.

The SURE COVID-19 program offers eligible farmers and fisherfolk a loanable amount of up to P25,000, with zero interest, no collateral, and payable in 10 years.

With a total allocation of P2.5 billion funds under the DA’s Plant, Plant, Plant program, DA-ACPC targets to provide innovative, affordable, and convenient credit facilities to ensure the availability and unhampered food supply amid the pandemic. Aside from the SURE COVID-19 program, DA-ACPC is facilitating other programs such as the AGRINEGOSYO (ANYO) and Kapital Access for Young Agripreneurs (KAYA) loan programs.

“We will continue what we have started, because it is our moral obligation to provide food for all Filipinos, and we start by helping our frontliners – our farmers and fisherfolk,” said Secretary Dar, reporting that DA-ACPC has already disbursed P1.2 billion loan funds under the Bayanihan Act 1, benefitting more than 40,000 small farmers and fisherfolk nationwide.

Meanwhile, LANDBANK President and CEO Borromeo welcomed this new collaboration, resuming joint efforts with the DA against the pandemic, supporting over 535,000 farmers during the initial and most crucial months of the current health crisis.

“As your partner bank, LANDBANK will facilitate the efficient and timely release of the P1 billion SURE Aid COVID-19 loan assistance to as many as 40,000 eligible beneficiaries nationwide that will be endorsed by the Department of Agriculture and BFAR Regional Offices to our respective lending centers,” said President Borromeo.

She furthered that “LANDBANK has also remained active in offering the special loan programs we administer for DA. As of November 2020, our cumulative loan releases stand at P7.76 Billion benefitting over 228,000 farmers.”

“We want to make sure that we have enough food during the pandemic and we would like to believe that we can survive and we can reboot again Philippine agriculture,” the Agri Chief concluded.