DA launches interest-free loan program for rice farmers
Marje Pelayo • September 2, 2019 • 850
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) officially launched the agency’s expanded Survival and Recovery Assistance for Rice Farmers (SURE AID Program) on Monday (September 2).
The program, organized by the DA-Agricultural and Credit Policy Council and Land Bank of the Philippines, provides rice farmers loan opportunities through a simplified application process.
“Dito ay simplified na ang (we have simplified the) loan application,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar during the launching of the program in Zaragosa, Nueva Ecija.
“Basta rehistrado, andyan lahat ng magrerecommend at may approval na, in three hours release [na ang loan] (As long as [the farmer] is registered, all recommendations are in place and approval has been secured, the loaned cash will be released in three hours time),” he added.
The loan program is the DA’s way of helping rice farmers who are suffering from the flooding of rice imports as a result of the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law which forced the plunging of palay’s selling price to P7/kg from the previous P21/kg.
Dar said the loan program covers farmers tilling farmland one hectare and below.
Qualified applicants may avail of P15,000 cash assistance payable in eight years with no interest and no collateral needed.
Secretary Dar assured that while the SURE Aid provides only a short-term solution, the DA is confident that the farm gate price will return to its reasonable amount during normal harvest time.
“Before the main harvest comes, in place na lahat ang measures, at doon na sa respectable prices na (all measures are in place, it will be back to respectable prices),” Dar said.
“In Nueva Ecija, Isabela and the rest, we’ll buy wet palay at P15/kg, hindi na (and no longer) P10/kh or P12/kg. So may ganansya na iyan sa magsasaka (They already have profit with that amount). Ang cost of producing one kilo of palay dito sa bansa ay P12 (The production cost of one kilogram of palay in the country is P12). Mayroon na silang P3/kg (They earn P3/kg). Kung ma-dry pa nila iyan, pupunta sa P17/kg (If they are able to dry their yield, they can earn higher up to P17/kg),” Secretary Dar concluded.
MANILA, Philippines – New outbreaks of the African Swine Fever (ASF) have been monitored in six provinces in Luzon, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said Thursday.
During a Laging Handa briefing, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the incidents of ASF outbreaks were reported in the provinces of Albay, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Quezon and Quirino.
The new outbreaks bring the total number of affected regions to nine, he added.
Dar assured that the culling operations for ASF-affected hogs have been implemented to ensure that no contaminated pork products will be sold in local markets.
“Mayroon po tayong ugnayan sa mga LGU sila na yung nakabantay doo sa mga areas na may declared ASF cases,may quarantine na yan hindi na makakalabas at kung ano yung kinakailangan na idepopulate,” he said.
“Lahat ng pupunta sa merkado, dapat dadaan sa slaughter houses at doon sa slaughter houses ay naka-bantay ang ating kawani ng National Meat Inspection Service at sila ang magbibigay ng certification na ito ay walang sakit at safe kainin ang karne,” he added.
The Agriculture chief also said that the government is providing hog raisers P5,000 indemnification per pig surrendered for culling.
Experts have said that the ASF virus is not harmful to humans. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)
MANILA, Philippines – State-run Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) is offering loans up to P150,000 per student to families in need of financial assistance to continue sending their children to school amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.
Landbank’s education program, dubbed as the Interim Students’ Loan for Tuition toward Upliftment of Education for the Development of the Youth (i-STUDY), will allow parents, guardians, or benefactors of students in private schools to borrow an amount equivalent to one school year or two semesters, the DOF said, citing a report by Landbank president and CEO Cecilia Borromeo to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.
“This program will not only help families who have kids they want to send to school, but will also assist private schools and downstream industries to sustain and continue their operations,” Borromeo said in a statement.
Loans under the i-STUDY program carries an affordable fixed interest rate of five percent per year.
Short-term loans payable within one year are available for pre-school, primary and secondary school students under the program, while term loans payable up to a maximum of three years, inclusive of a one-year grace period on the principal amount are available for tertiary level students.
Loans under the program cannot exceed P300,000 per eligible borrower, Borromeo said.
Landbank’s i-STUDY program was introduced “in response to President Duterte’s call to support students during this time of crisis,” according to Borromeo.
It also launched in May this year a lending program targeting private schools hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis.
An initial batch of over 60 private educational institutions have expressed interest in tapping the bank’s Access to Academic Development to Empower the Masses towards Endless Opportunities (ACADEME) lending program.
The program aims to extend credit to private high schools, private technical-vocational education training institutions, colleges and universities with the goal of encouraging students to enroll under a “study now, pay later” setup by allowing their parents to issue promissory notes for their academic fees.
These promissory notes will then be refinanced or rediscounted under the program, with schools allowed to borrow as much as 70 percent of the sub-promissory note per semester and subject.
However, schools can only borrow up to a certain maximum amount based on the net borrowing capacity of the institution.
Loans under the program carry an interest rate of three percent per annum and are payable based on the maturity of the sub-promissory notes but not to exceed three years.
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) are planning to conduct cloudseeding operations in Central Luzon to address the declining water level in Pantabangan Dam.
In a statement, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said he has given a go-signal for the department’s Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) to commence the operation to induce rains over parts of Central Luzon where the bulk of the rice areas are in critical reproductive stage.
“With this initiative, we can ensure a respectable rice harvest in Central Luzon, particularly in Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Bulacan, and Tarlac,” Dar said.
Sonia Salguero, DA-BSWM director said a total of P6 million has been allocated for the operations and that the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines has given clearance to make use of Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija as its base.
Dar said the project is in cooperation with NIA and the irrigators’ associations, which is aimed to ensuring adequate water for rice farms in Central Luzon and to bring up Pantabangan dam’s “very low reservoir water level.”
Central Luzon is the country’s rice granary and main source of the staple for Metro Manila and other rice-deficit areas in Luzon.
“Central Luzon is a critical component in our objective to achieve food security, especially for residents in the National Capital Region,” the DA chief said.
Pantabangan Dam is one of the largest dams in Asia and supplies the irrigation requirements for agricultural lands in Central Luzon. Its power station generates 112 megawatts of hydroelectric power.
As of September 5, 2020, Pantabangan Dam’s RWL is at 182.17 meters or 30.97 meters below its normal high water level of 216 meters.
“This means the stored water at Pantabangan Dam is not enough to supply the irrigation requirements of the Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation System (UPRIIS) operated by NIA,” said Salguero.
More than 141,430 hectares are programmed to be served by UPRIIS this rainy season.
NIA expects that the possible arrival of La Niña in the coming months may help increase the water level of Pantabangan Dam.
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