PHILIPPINES: Small cane farmers may now access US$11.5 million subsidised loan

Published: 02/13/2018, 9:35:51 AM

Sugar board member Emilio Yulo III said a funding of PHP600 million (US$11.5 million) is now available for small sugar planters/farmers under the Socialized Credit Program of the Land Bank of the Philippines, according to the Philippines' Sun Star newspaper.

Yulo said on Monday the fund is part of the PHP2-billion annual allocation for the sugar industry under the Sugarcane Industry Development Act (Sida).

A total of PHP300 million a year is allocated for the Socialized Credit, Program and since the fund was unspent in the previous year, the total allocation this year is already PHP600 million. Senator Cynthia Villar, who authored the Sida at the Senate, said during her visit to Negros Occidental Sunday, February 11, said that the fund was never spent possibly because the beneficiaries were unaware that the loan was available.

Maybe also they do not want to avail because of the procedures and requirements in acquiring a bank loan, she added. Villar said that for this year, the budget allocated for Sida is only PHP1.2 billion despite the legislated PHP2 billion because of under-spending in the previous year.

Yulo said that this time, they will make it easier for the small planters to avail of the socialized loan.

"We know that the farmers need the money so we want to avoid stringent procedures because we may not be able to make use of the money," he added. "In the coming days, we will announce the mechanics for this loan for small sugar farmers with a land area of five hectares and below," Yulo said.

He added that the barangays will have a big role in this program because small planters would need to secure barangay clearance in the villages where their respective lands are located. The small planters could avail a loan of PHP40,000 per hectare.