NAGA CITY – Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol has finalized the guidelines of the Hybrid Rice Credit Assistance Program where rice farmers can choose from four (4) loaning schemes. This was bared by Rodel Tornilla, DA OIC RTD for Operations and Extension and Regional Rice Program Coordinator during the Orientation/Briefing on Credit Assistance for Hybrid Rice Production Project held in this city October 9.
Over 150 rice stakeholders from the six provinces of the region, composed of chairpersons of cooperative recipients of Rice Processing Centers; presidents of irrigators associations; provincial and municipal rice coordinators; rice seed growers; heads of DA attached agencies; representatives from hybrid rice seed companies; provincial and municipal agriculturists; and Agricultural Extension Workers, attended the briefing.
The project shall cover 600,000 hectares for the planting of hybrid rice seeds for 2017-2018 dry cropping season and shall be continuously pursued in the succeeding cropping season. This public-private partnership will mainstream credit assistance to support the financial requirement of rice farmers. The loanable amount is P15,000 per hectare to cover the cost of seeds and fertilizer and farmers can avail loan for up to 3 hectares or equivalent to P50,000 which is payable in two years at 6% interest per annum.
Dir. Tornilla said the farmers and IA/cooperatives have four options: Under the Scheme 1, a Financier shall purchase the preferred hybrid rice seed varieties of the farmers from the seed companies and fertilizer from the input suppliers identified by the cooperatives or irrigators associations. After harvest, the farmer-borrowers shall pay the loaned amount to the IA/cooperative which will, in turn, pay the financier. Under Scheme 2, the preferred hybrid rice seed shall be provided by the seed companies and input suppliers to the IA/cooperatives through a loan. Under Scheme 3, the preferred seed type and fertilizers shall be provided by the seed company directly to the farmer-borrowers, so that individual farmers who do not belong to a coop of IA may also avail of the credit assistance. After harvest, the farmer-borrowers shall pay to the seed companies and input suppliers.
Under the Scheme 4 dubbed as Production Loan Easy Access (PLEA), the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) will provide non-collateralized loans to small farmers through the Land Bank of the Philippines. Ding P. Pereyra, Project Development Officer of ACPC said that PLEA started last year in 85 poorest provinces in the country. This year, all the six provinces of Bicol are included in the project.
To be eligible, the IAs or cooperatives must be duly registered under the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) or the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). While the farmers who are members of said IA/s or coops should be in good credit standing. Farmers who are not coop or IA members must be registered in the Registry System for Basic Sectors for Agriculture (RSBSA) or in Juan Magsasaka’t Mangingisda National Database System, or included in the masterlist to be submitted by the IA to the DA regional office.
The Local Government Units (LGUs) will identify the IA/cooperatives which are willing to participate. The LGUs are also expected to provide technical assistance and conduct trainings on rice production technologies in cooperation with seed companies and input suppliers.
All rice farms included in the project will be insured by the Phil. Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) during the duration of the loan. (Lovella P. Guarin/ photo credit: Hermito Antonio DT. Privaldos)