LEGAZPI CITY—More than 60 rice farmers from Legazpi City applied for the Expanded Survival and Recovery Assistance Program for Rice Farmers (SURE Aid) loan program on January 23, 2020 at the City Agriculture Office here during the Orientation on SURE Aid Program.

According to ACPC-5 Project Assistant Michael Jordan O. Roquid, each farmer will be receiving a one-time Php15,000.00 loan without interest and payable for eight years.

He added that the SURE Aid Loan Program is very affordable for the small rice farmers as they need to set aside P1,875.00 per year from their income to pay their loan. Moreover, the National Food Authority (NFA) will buy their produce so they have no more problem in selling their palay.

Roquid disclosed that the Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Credit Policy Council (DA-ACPC) through the Landbank of the Philippines (LBP) allocated 45M pesos for for the 3000 small rice farmers from Sorsogon and Albay.

This loan program will help rice farmers regain their capacity to continue their rice production, as they were affected by the initial impact of low palay prices resulting to the reduction or loss of their farm income.

One of the farmers present was 84-year-old Felicitas Solano from barangay Pawa, Legazpi City who is known for her advertisement for Ophthalmic Suites explaining the cataract problem. She said that the loan will help her in paying for farm expenses she has incurred in her one-hectare rice farm. She is being assisted by her son Domingo in tending the rice field.

Under the SURE Aid, rice farmers who are farming an area of not more than one hectare and registered to the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) in their respective municipalities can avail of this loan.

Letecia A. Medallon, 68, said that the loan will help her recover from her rice and other crop production (vegetables, coconut, cassava and banana) that were completely destroyed by typhoon Tisoy last year.

A total of 3771 farmers from Camarines Sur, Albay, Camarines Norte and Sorsogon availed of the loan program amounting to Php56,565,000.00. “Dakulaon an tabang kaining programa sa samong mga parauma,” Medallon related about this easy-credit access, free fertilizer, seminars, and palay seeds which she received from DA through the Legazpi City Agriculture Office. (jaysonmgonzales)