Quezon farmers get P165 million financial assistance
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - November 10, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA,Philippines — The Department of Agriculture has released P165 million in new loans to farmers in Quezon to help them cope with the continued decline of palay (unhusked rice) prices.

The newly released credit assistance forms part of the P2.5 billion Expanded Survival and Recovery Assistance Program for Rice Farmers (SURE Aid), which DA and the Land Bank of the Philippines launched two months ago.

About 11,000 farmers from Quezon received financial aid.

Under the program, each rice farmer tilling one hectare or below farmland and is registered under the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture will receive P15,000 cash loan.

“This credit assistance is payable in eight years at zero percent interest. They only have to pay P1,875 annually,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said.

Aside from the loan, the DA will also carry out a buy two take two fertilizer program where farmers will receive two bags of urea fertilizer for every two bags bought.

“We are putting these things in place because we want to make sure that Filipino farmers increase their production and income, and become more competitive,” he said.

As of last week, total cash loans reached about P515 million and benefitted more than 33,000 farmers.

The DA-Agricultural Credit Policy Council allotted a total of P2.5 billion for the SURE Aid Program to be managed by Landbank over a period of four months from August 2019.

An estimated 170,000 rice farmers in the country are seen to benefit from the loan project.

Dar said the DA would also beef up vegetable production in Quezon to increase productivity, improve the quality of produce, and sustain the province’s rank as the vegetable bowl of Luzon.

He assured that products from the farms reach the markets in good condition through the establishment of farm to market roads (FMR).

Under the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP), farmers from Sariaya town in Quezon will soon benefit from the 13.8-kilometer road network valued at P187.4 million.

The project, which will benefit 40,000 residents from 8,862 households, is seen to directly impact different local agriculture industries including coconut, rice, high value crops, green and yellow corn.

DA-Calabarzon regional director Arnel de Mesa De Mesa said with the completion of the FMR, the daily volume of producers and buyers coming in and out of production areas would increase.

Dar likewise vowed to push for the development of agri-tourism in Sariaya to maximize the untapped potential of the municipality as a primary producer of vegetables.

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