photo source: da.gov.ph
Good news for the Fish and Agriculture businesses that were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department of Agriculture through the Agriculture Credit Policy (ACPC) has approved primarily a Php 1-billion loan assistance. This is to assist marginal farmers and fisherfolk, as well as those who own agri-fishery micro and small businesses — so that they may be able to cope during this state of national emergency.
According to the Secretary of Agriculture of the Philippines, William D. Dar, the financial program is part of the expanded SURE Aid and Recovery Project. The project is to support the “Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS) Kontra COVID-19” or Plant, Plant, Plant Program – of which the goal is to increase farm productivity and make sure there is enough food for everyone during this national crisis situation.
The credit facility will provide small farmers, fishermen, and agri-fishery MSEs with their needed capital for them to be able to continue their operations during this time of quarantine. Those who are eligible to take advantage of this loan program are those businesses – under single proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or cooperative/ association). According to the DA Chief, qualified business owners may borrow up to Php 10 million at zero interest and is payable for up to five years.
At the same time, individual farmers and fishers are also allowed to borrow a non-collateralized loan of Php 25,000 at zero interest and are payable in 10 years. Also, there’s only one lender that is allowed per farm/ fisher household. The DA Chief also said that farmers, fishers, and MSEs who will take part in the Department of Agriculture’s Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita program will be given priority.
Chief Secretary William D. Dar stated that “the idea is to provide emergency and production capital requirements for our marginalized sector, whose operations and earnings were severely affected by the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon.
The country’s farmers and fishers, who we consider as food security ‘frontliners,’ play a crucial part in our fight against Covid-19. That’s why it is important that we continue to empower them to ensure continued production and delivery of food to our countrymen”.
He also added – “As I have mentioned many times before, the threat of hunger is as real as the threat of Covid-19. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of our farmers and fishers in ensuring stable food supply, especially in Metro Manila and other urban centers”.
The DA-ACPC is building up its partnerships with 230 existing lending conduits nationwide – including government banks, rural banks, cooperative banks, cooperatives, viable NGOs, and associations for the successful implementation of the expanded SURE Aid program.