The Expanded SURE Aid and Recovery Project or SURE COVID–19, a program of the Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Credit Policy Council (DA-ACPC) disbursed a total of P14.95 million in loans to 576 marginalized small farmers and fishers (MSFFs) in Davao region.
Of the P14.95M, P11.53M credit funds were distributed to the Sarangani Development Cooperative (SACDECO) and Producers Bank of Malita, DA-ACPC’s partner lending conduits in Davao Occidental, benefiting 439 MSFFs; while the remaining P3.425M was released to the Cooperative Bank of Cotabato (CBC), benefiting 137 MSFFs.
ASF and COVID-19
It was in February of this year when hog raisers in Davao were hit by the African Swine Fever (ASF) which cost their livelihood. A month after, the COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, causing more losses to many farming communities in the region.
In coordination with the DA-Regional Fielf Office XI and the local government units (LGUs), ACPC facilitated the release of loans helping 295 hog raisers in five barangays of Jose Abad Santos. According to Jeffrey Pantojan, ACPC’s program management officer for Davao, despite restrictions, they hastened the implementation of the program without compromising the safety in service delivery during the virus lockdown.
Billy Cayog, a backyard hog raiser in Caburan Big, Jose Abad Santos, Davao Occidental, was among those who were affected by ASF and COVID-19. When his stock of seven hogs were culled as part of the ASF protocol, he decided to shift to farming to recover his livelihood. “Naapektuhan din ang aming hanapbuhay ng qurantine. Di kami nakakalabas. Pero sobrang saya ko ngayon dahil sa loan. Malaking tulong ito na magagamit ko sa aking pagsasaka at isang maliit na negosyo,” Cayog said.
Since the implementation of community quarantine due to the current health crisis, ACPC has engaged with a strengthened partnership among its partner lending conduits as well as the LGUs to expedite the release of credit funds to farmers and fisherfolk.
Through the SURE COVID–19 program, farmers and fishers whose incomes were affected by the community qurantine can borrow a non-collateralized loan of P25,000 at 0% interest and payable in ten (10) years.