By Lilybeth Inson, PNA
MANILA — The government will roll out a PHP1.5-billion loan program for farmers who were affected by the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) due to the influx of cheaper imports.
At the sidelines of a forum on hybrid rice on Friday, Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said instead of the initial conditional cash transfer to help the rice farmers, which would cost the government about PHP6 billion to provide PHP5,000 to some 1.1 million rice farmers, the Department of Agriculture (DA) changed it to a one-time loan program.
Dar said under the program, the affected rice farmers tilling one hectare of land and below may avail of a PHP15,000-loan via the Expanded Survival and Recovery Assistance Program for Rice Farmers (SURE Aid).
Under the SURE Aid, which will start on Sept. 1, 2019, rice farmers who are farming one-hectare land and below, may avail of a one-time, zero-interest loan amounting to PHP15,000 payable up to eight years.
The National Food Authority (NFA) will also buy the produce of rice farmers who avail of the loan assistance under the said program.
“This loan assistance is a manifestation of the strong desire of the government to help Filipino rice farmers,” Dar said.
SURE Aid aims to provide loan assistance for immediate relief to rice farmers affected by the reduction or loss of their farm income.
The program also intends to help rice farmers regain their capacity to continue their production.
“We will continue to look at measures to improve the living conditions of our rural stakeholders. Rest assured that with RCEF, farmers will increase productivity and earn more,” Dar said.
“At the end of the day, aangat lahat (everybody will prosper),” he added. (PNA)