P45M-WORTH SURE AID LOAN, AVAILED BY THOUSANDS OF FARMERS FROM MAGUINDANAO

Three-thousand and four rice farmers from the province of Maguindanao received their cash cards containing a total of P45,060,000, released by the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP)-Kidapawan Branch, today, under the Expanded Survival and Recovery Assistance (SuRe Aid) Program.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR), in partnership with the volunteering Municipal Agricultural Officers (MAOs), facilitated the activity that was held at the MAFAR Covered Court, Bangsamoro Government Center, Cotabato City.

The SURE Aid Program aims to help the rice farmers across the country who have experienced ‘decrease in income’ owing to the declining farm gate price of palay with the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL).

The program provides a one-time loan assistance of P15,000, at 0% interest, per rice farmer cultivating one hectare and below. The loan is payable for eight years at Php1,875 per year.

With a total of P1.5 billion, the program fund for the whole country came from the Department of Agriculture- Agricultural Credit Policy Council (DA-ACPC) and the lending program is administered by the LBP as effected by the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed by the two institutions last August, 2019.

During the said signing, DA Secretary Dr William D. Dar said “Credit must be affordable and accessible, and the ease of doing business will be our principle in terms of simplifying the process for the common farmer.”

Meanwhile, MAFAR Minister Dr Mohammad S. Yacob supports the idea with his advocacy on easier processes and requirements for every transaction of the Bangsamoro farmers with the government. In his opening message, the MAFAR Chief urged the farmer-recipients to use the financial assistance they received in moving ahead with their farming endeavor and to be responsible payers exemplifying disciplined Bangsamoro.

Rosa Maria C. Cabanial, LBP-Kidapawan City Manager, reiterated the call for the farmers to maximize the use of the loan proceeds to attain the very purpose of the program.

Representing Interim Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim, Al-Hadj of BARMM, Abdullah M. Cusain, Assistant Executive Secretary, challenged the farmers to become good loaners and to showcase diligence by utilizing the amount in defraying their farming needs.

As the envoy of Secretary Dar, Engr. Roy M. Abaya, DA Director for Operations and RCEF National Coordinator, underscored that the program is just one of those that DA is implementing to boost the productivity of the farmers. “Ang lahat ng ito ay nakatuon sa pagkamit ng minimithi ng ating mahal na kalihim na makamtan ng bawat magsasaka ang masaganang ani at mataas na kita”, Abaya added.

Similar activity was also carried out in Lanao del Sur, that benefited 500 rice farmers, as facilitated by LBP-Iligan City Branch. Three weeks earlier, 280 farmers also received their cash cards under the same program.

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