The Department of Agriculture (DA), through the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC), has turned over to the Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) an additional P1 billion, which will serve as emergency loans to small farmers and fisherfolk.
The new funds will cover ACPC’s Expanded SURE Aid and Recovery Project (SURE COVID-19), which is funded under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.
The SURE COVID-19 loan window is part of the DA’s Plant, Plant, Plant Program or the Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS) Kontra COVID-19 program that aims to increase the country’s food adequacy level.
An initial P2.5 billion was already allotted for the program to help micro and small enterprises (MSMEs) and small farmers and fishers adversely affected by the quarantine lockdown imposed by the government to help stem the spread of the pandemic.
The amount, which has been fully released, supported over 535,000 farmers during the initial and most crucial months of the crisis.
“This is our way of helping agri-fishery MSMEs and small farmers and fishers recover from their losses, as they play a crucial role in ensuring the availability of food supply in Metro Manila and other urban centers,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar.
LANDBANK said the new funds could aid about 40,000 eligible beneficiaries nationwide that will be endorsed by the ACPC and DA Regional Field Offices (DA-RFOs) to LANDBANK’s lending centers.
Under the SURE COVID-19 loan program, eligible small farmers and fishers may borrow up to P25,000, with no collateral, zero interest, and payable in 10 years.