The expanded Survival and Recovery Assistance program (SURE Aid) now stands at P2.5 billion following an infusion of additional P1-billion fund. 

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said around 170,000 small rice farmers are now expected to benefit from the program.

Dar said SURE Aid is aimed at providing loan assistance for immediate relief to rice farmers affected by the impact of low palay prices as a result of the rice tariffication law, or Republic Act 11203.

Under the program, rice farmers tilling 1 hectare and below can avail of P15,000 SURE Aid loan at zero interest and payable in eight years.

Launched on September 2 in Nueva Ecija, the Department of Agriculture expected a total of 600,000 rice farmers to avail of the program.  

“1,048 rice farmers in Nueva Ecija have already availed of the program.”

The agriculture chief said some 1,048 rice farmers in Nueva Ecija have already availed of the program.

However, the agriculture head said the P2.5 billion is not enough for the remaining 430,000 rice farmers affected by the impact of the low palay prices. 

“Maghahanap ang gobyerno para masiguro na matulungan natin ang lahat ng mga magsasaka (The government is still looking for other funding source so we can help all small rice farmers),” he said.

Meanwhile, the Land Bank of the Philippines, together with the DA, is rolling out a new lending program that would assist local government units (LGUs) purchase palay produced by local farmers to help cushion the effects of the drop in the price of palay in some regions.

The DA said this may also be caused by hoarding or stockpiling of some rice traders.

“Land Bank has earmarked P10 billion to fund the ‘PALAY ng Lalawigan’ Program.”

Land Bank President and Chief Executive Officer Cecilla Borromeo said the Bank has earmarked P10 billion to fund the “PAlay aLAY sa Magsasaka ng Lalawigan (PALAY ng Lalawigan) Program” to assist provincial, municipal, and city governments of rice-producing areas nationwide to procure palay from small farmers, with a low interest rate of 2% per annum.

“This is a direct response of the Bank, together with the Department of Agriculture, to the call of the national government for a concerted effort of government agencies serving the agriculture sector to firm up its support for our palay farmers in the wake of the impact of lower palay prices,” Borromeo said.

Under the program, the provincial government will buy local palay and may operate a socio-economic enterprise to assist the farmers, whose incomes were adversely affected by the drop in the farm gate prices of palay.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *