Cagayan de Oro City – At least 2,500 farmers and fisherfolk in Northern Mindanao whose livelihood adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic are due to receive a total of P62.5 million loan assistance from the Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Credit Policy Council (DA-ACPC).

Under the Expanded Survival and Recovery (SURE) Aid Project or SURE COVID-19 financing program of DA-ACPC, marginalized farmers and fisherfolk may be granted a maximum of P25,000 non-collateralized, no interest financial loan payable in ten years.

Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) may avail a maximum P10 million as financing assistance. Said financing program was born on DA’s Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS) Kontra COVID-19 campaign.

The program grants special loan to COVID-19 affected farmers and fisherfolk, capacitating them to bounce back from the pandemic’s adversities.

The DA-ACPC financing assistance is primarily grounded on the goal of ensuring unhampered food production and increased food supply nationwide, amidst onset of COVID-19 crisis.

“Our farmers in the region are affected by COVID-19 pandemic. Due to strict community quarantine their livelihood were compromised, and we need to step up and maximize our efforts helping them come around the crisis,” said DA-10 OIC-Regional Executive Director Carlene C. Collado.

“In April and May we have released a total of P185.4 million financial assistance to rice farmers in the region thru the Financial Subsidy to Rice Farmers (FSRF) and Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RFFA). Now we are aiming to assist more farmers through DA-ACPC loan assistance. This initiative will make our farmers to stay productive while coping with the pandemic,” Director Collado furthered.

The DA-ACPC started releasing the Expanded SURE Aid COVID-19 loan in May.

As of date, the council has released P15.4 million loan to individual farmers and fisherfolk, in the provinces of Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon and Misamis Occidental. “I am extremely pleased to be one of the qualified grantees of DA-ACPC SURE COVID-19 financing assistance. This is a big help for small farmers like us. With the loaned amount I will be able to purchase fertilizers for my banana farm,” Tomas Ermita, a farmer from Balingasag, Misamis Oriental exclaimed.

A total of 80 municipalities and cities in Northern Mindanao are covered by DA-ACPC SURE COVID-19 financing program. Starting this month ACPC will be in full swing, releasing the loan in all Northern Mindanao provinces, including Lanao del Norte and Camiguin.

“We are targeting to round up the SURE COVID-19 loan assistance in July. Although our time frame greatly depends on the LGUs’ responsiveness in submitting the list of qualified recipients. Our partner lending institution also have their protocols to observe in releasing the loans. Nevertheless, we are pretty much on track,” said Joan A. Vargas, ACPC Project Development Officer III.

In a report, Vargas disclosed ACPC also had released P31.5 million worth of financing loans to micro and small agricultural enterprises in Northern Mindanao through the Expanded SURE Aid and Recovery Project.

“We are hopeful this financing assistance of the government will benefit and help the farmers and fisherfolk in Region 10, especially in this time of crisis. This assistance hopefully enable them to recover and get back to their livelihood,” Vargas expectantly added.

The SURE COVID-19 financing assistance were released to farmers and fisherfolk through DA-ACPC accredited conduit lending institutions in Northern Mindanao: PITAC MPC, Mindanao Consolidated Cooperative Bank (MCCB), Lorenzo Tan MPC, 1st Valley Bank, Paglaum MPC and Bangko sa Balay Foundation, Inc.#(ATalib)