Cebu City – Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Agriculture (DA) Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) has released more than P100-million in loans small farmers and fisherfolks as well as micro and small enterprises in Western Visayas.
Recognizing the need to help these sectors, the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte through the DA-ACPC established the Expanded SURE COVID-19 program, which offers zero-interest, no collateral loans.
“Many have been affected financially because of the current crisis. For this reason, the government is extending much-needed loan assistance to our farmers and fisherfolk to help them sustain their enterprises even amidst the economic challenges nowadays,” said Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino, Presidential Assistant for the Visayas.
Secretary Dino stressed that the agriculture sector plays a very crucial role in the country’s local supply chain, thus the need to help them sustain their businesses.
“The government has laid out plans for our economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. The agriculture sector is one of the key sectors being prioritized in terms of giving them financial support to ensure their survival,” Dino said.
The SURE COVID-19 program provides the beneficiaries with capital to finance their agri-fishery related production, processing, trading and marketing activities.
As of September, DA-ACPC had released around P96.53-million of loans under the SURE COVID-19 program to 3,534 small farmers and fisherfolks in the region. Each beneficiary obtained P25,000 loan payable up to 10 years, Assistant Secretary Jonji Gonzales of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) said during the Laging Handa Network Briefing News.
The ACPC had released P24.9-million to Aklan, P11.8-million to Antique, P9.8-million to Capiz, P1.8-million to Guimaras, P25-million for Iloilo, and P15-million to Negros Oriental to date, Asec Gonzales added.
Aside from loans to individual farmers the SURE COVID-19 credit program also offers up to P10-million loanable amount to MSEs who are into agri-fishery production and trading.
In Aklan, the Integrated Barangays of Numancia Multi-Purpose Cooperative (MPC) had already received a P10-million loan, while the Lezo MPC obtained a P5-million credit from ACPC.
Antique’s Kalipunan ng mga Magsasaka ng Patnongon availed of P1-million loan to fund their rice trading and agricultural supply business.
Meanwhile, YLD-IISDA of Concepcion, Iloilo borrowed P5-million, and the Negros Island Organic Producers Association had gained a P3.5-million credit support from ACPC.
According to the ACPC, P69.9-million worth of loans is pending for approval and P37-million is under evaluation for MSE loan applicants.
Farmers’ cooperatives and associations have to be registered with Cooperative Development Authority, Securities and Exchange Commission, or with the Department of Labor and Employment to avail of this lending facility, which is payable for up to five years.