SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – Farmers and fishermen who are affected by COVID-19 pandemic in Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) have received the cash and loan assistance from the Department of Agriculture (DA) through the social amelioration programs (SAPs).

The DA’s SAPs is comprising of the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RFFA) and the Expanded- Survival and Recovery (E-SURE) Loan Program.

As of last week, at least 16, 160 farmers from the provinces of Ifugao, Kalinga and Apayao have already received their RFFA with a total amount of P80.8 million.

Aida Pagtang of the DA-CAR Regional Field Office said the distribution of the RFFA is on-going while the verification of the qualified farmer – recipients is continuing.

The RFFA is an unconditional cash transfer amounting to Php5, 000.00 per rice farmer from covered-rice producing provinces. The qualified farmers get assistance via the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP).

To assist other farmers, the DA through its Agricultural Credit Policy Council is also providing a zero-interest loan dubbed as E-SURE Loan.

The loan offers P25, 000.00 to marginalized small farmers and fishers to finance their emergency and production capital requirements. It is payable within 10 years depending on the capacity to pay and agreements made with the tapped community cooperatives that handle the said loan.

As of September 11, a total of P223, 100, 000.00 loans was released to 8,924 farmers throughout CAR.

Meanwhile, the other ongoing national project being implemented in CAR is the Rice Resiliency Project (RRP).

The RRP aims to double the government’s effort at improving rice productivity and increasing the level of food adequacy. Hybrid/inbred seeds and fertilizers are provided to qualified rice farmers in the region.

To date, 39,051 farmers have received their rice seeds amounting to P72.5M which is equivalent to 90% accomplishment while 1,432 farmers have received the fertilizer component which is facilitated through a reimbursement scheme.

According to Pagtang, these programs being conducted by DA – CAR together with partner LGUs are geared towards improving the agricultural sector while also ensuring that it is available, accessible, and affordable food, especially with the current challenging situation.

She added that the farmers may directly approach your nearest agriculture office for more information and assistance from the DA’s programs.