The Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Credit Policy Council (DA-ACPC) and the LANDBANK of the Philippines (LANDBANK) on Wednesday, August 28, signed a Memorandum of Agreement for the Expanded Survival and Recovery Assistance Program for Rice Farmers (SURE Aid Program).
The SURE Aid Program aims to assist the rice farmers whose incomes were affected by the drop in the farm gate price of palay. Said program will provide a one-time loan assistance of P15,000 to rice farmers who are farming one hectare and below at 0% interest rate payable for eight years.
The LANDBANK will administer the P1.5 billion fund from the DA-ACPC for the lending program. DA-accredited service conduits will also be tapped by LANDBANK so that they, in turn, will disburse loans to eligible beneficiaries especially in unbanked and unserved areas.
“Thank you Secretary Dar for this very swift and solid move, a clear proof of your trademark as a man of action. It is a sign of many great things to come on the agri sector,” said LANDBANK President Cecile Borromeo.
“Be assured that LANDBANK is fully on board to work with you in making great things happen for our farmers and fishers… Sama-sama nating isulong ang interes ng magsasaka tungo sa masaganang ani at mataas na kita” said Borromeo.
DA Acting Secretary William Dar, on the other hand, said that the SURE Aid Program is a financial assistance that is very affordable for the small rice farmers as they just need to set aside P1,875 per year to pay off their loan.
“Credit is such as very important strategy to make it possible to develop and grow Philippine agriculture,” Secretary Dar said. “Credit must be affordable, accessible and the ease of doing business will be our principle in terms of simplifying the process for the common farmer.”
Further, Sec. Dar said that there are three big issues that the Department need to get a good handle at in the next four months including the falling price of palay and copra, and the swine disease that is yet to be confirmed by laboratory tests.
“Kaya natin ito kung tayong lahat ay nagkakaisa. We will bring all the minds and the best ideas into the table and really harness the best measures possible to help the sector,” the Secretary said.
The DA was represented by Secretary Dar and ACPC Executive Director Jocelyn Alma Badiola while LANDBANK was represented by President Borromeo and First Vice President for Lending Program Management Group Emellie Tamayo during the MOA signing. LANDBANK Board of Directors, DA and ACPC officials also witnessed the event.