CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Enhancing farmers’ productivity through the provision of agri-assistance to maintain accessibility, affordability, and availability of food, remains the thrust of the Department of Agriculture (DA), especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addressing said thrusts, the DA-Regional Field Office 10 thru the Planning and Monitoring Evaluation Division (PMED) spearheaded the briefing on the agency’s new programs and projects in leading the implementers of the department, on Thursday, August 27.

Among these are the institutionalization of the Agriculture Dialogue and Information Network Group (ADING); Establishment of the Farm and Fisheries Clustering and Consolidation (F2C2) towards a greater inclusive agri-business development in the country; Balik Probinsya-Balik Pag-asa (BP2) for returning Overseas Filipino Workers and individuals affected by the pandemic, who will be returning to their respective provinces; and the ACEF Scholarship Program, a financial aid granted to students pursuing agri-related courses with a basic family annual income of P300,000 and below.

DA-RFO 10 Regional Executive Director Carlene C. Collado emphasized the department will support said programs at all cost, particularly the BP2 program. Of which, DA’s Special Area for Agricultural Development ( SAAD) program and its banner programs will allocate budget to provide livelihood projects to the affected individuals.

He further requested the support and participation of everyone in the program implementation.

“As frontliners handling the food-producing sector, much is expected from us, and we cannot afford to lose the confidence of so many people depending on our assistance,” Collado said.

In addition, production and marketing assistance can be availed by farmers through the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD).

AMAD will facilitate the loan programs which include Kapital Access for Young Agripreneurs (KAYA) for young farmers aged 18-30 years old; AgriNegosyo (Anyo); Expanded Sure Aid and Recovery (SuRe) program; Agricultural Competitive Enhancement Fund (ACEF); and, the Sagip Saka program.

These financial assistance allows the borrower to loan an amount ranging from P 300,000 to P15 million with 0-2 percent interest payable up to five years, depending on the approved business plan submitted by the proponent to finance their respective agri-fishery small and micro-enterprise.

Interested farmers, associations and cooperatives are requested to submit their letter of intent, followed by a project proposal through the municipal, city agriculture’s office for endorsement to DA regional office through AMAD for review and validation of their proposed project.

On the other hand, Regional Technical Director for Operations Carlota Madriaga, hoped that the briefing will help the DA implementers to internalize the programs and projects that the department is going to implement in the succeeding years.

“By understanding its different implementation schemes, more farmers will benefit, and success will not be far from our grasp,” Madriaga concluded. # (Mary Grace B. Sta. Elena)