DA to extend credit assistance to Leyte farmers

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Created on Tuesday, 07 May 2013 Published Date

Small farmers in Leyte engaged in palay production are to avail of credit assistance to boost food production in this part of the region.

This is in line with the implementation of the Sikat Saka Program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in partnership with the LandBank of the Philippines (LBP).

Sikat Saka, as explained by DA-8 Regional Technical Director for Operations and Extension Rufino B. Ayaso III, is an agricultural production loan program in support of the government’s Food Staples Sufficiency Program (FSSP) by providing the small palay farmers’ access to credit, through their respective irrigator’s associations. “This will assist the farmers who own or till an irrigated land of at least half or up to five hectares, in financing their production requirements in a timely manner and affordable cost,” he added.

Under this program, the loan limit is based on the credit needs of the farmer but not to exceed the approved LandBank’s loan ceiling for palay production. Currently, a hybrid rice farmer can borrow P50,000 per hectare, while the farmer using inbred rice seeds can avail of P41,000 per hectare.

Corollary to this, farmers will also enjoy a lower interest rate of 15 percent per annum for the first two loan cycles. It can go as low as nine percent per annum on the eighth loan cycle if the farmer consistently pays the full amount of the amortization on time.

The program also introduces the use of automated teller machines (ATMs) in releasing the loans to farmers.

For Region 8 where the program is initially implemented in Leyte, six irrigators’ associations (IA) with good standing in its functionality survey were endorsed by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) as credit consolidators or conduits, namely, the Guinarona Zone 1 Farmer Irrigators’ Service Cooperative (FISCO) in Dagami; Binoligay FISCO in Julita; Matando IA in Hindang; Tamulcom FISCO in Abuyog; and, KASANAG FISCO and San Jose-Sabang-Bao FISCO in Ormoc City.

Some of the officials and members of these IAs participated in the community-based briefings recently conducted by the implementing agencies and they are now on the process of pre-listing those qualified members for this program.

“We do hope that the list of qualified farmer-members of these IAs will be finalized soon so that loans to target beneficiaries will be released in time for the next cropping season,” said Dir. Ayaso.

The Department of Agriculture has also tapped its attached agencies and corporations (NFA, NIA, ATI, PCIC, ACPC, NABCOR) to provide an integrated support to small palay farmers in terms of extension and administrative services, including assured market and irrigation. (PAUL NIGEL D. CUSTODIO, Media Production Aide, FRANCISCO C. ROSAROSO, Chief, RAFID)

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