A total of 360 rice farmers from the town of Prosperidad in Agusan del Sur province received cash assistance in the form of a loan from the Department of Agriculture (DA) 13 (Caraga) and the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP).
The aid was released through the Expanded Survival and Recovery Assistance for Rice Farmers (SURE Aid) Program under the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) of the DA.
DA-13 Executive Director Abel James I. Monteagudo led the distribution of cash cards to farmer-beneficiaries in Prosperidad.
A total cash assistance of PHP5.4 million was released to the farmers during the distribution activity, the DA-13 Information Office said.
In his message, Monteagudo told the farmers to fully use the cash aid to develop their farms for increased production.
He said the SURE Aid Program under the ACPC aims to assist rice farmers whose incomes have been affected by the drop in the farm gate price of palay in markets.
The card received by each farmer-beneficiary was loaded with PHP15,000, payable within eight years with zero interest.
In a phone interview on Tuesday, DA-13 Rice Program focal person Marisa Garces told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that recipients of the cash assistance are those farming one hectare and below in the area.
Garces said 332 rice farmers from San Francisco, Agusan del Sur received the same cash assistance with a total amount of PHP4.9 million from DA-ACPC last October.
Carlito Butlay, a rice farmer from Barangay Aurora, Prosperidad, was quoted as saying that the cash assistance was a big help for them to further develop their farmlands.
Butlay added that the support of DA-ACPC would benefit the farmers because of its zero interest, as compared to the 10-percent interest rate per cropping being offered by private lenders and financiers in the area. (PNA)