THE Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) has approved P1.5 billion in funding for the expanded Survival and Recovery Assistance Program for Rice Farmers (SURE Aid).

In a statement, ACPC said the program will be implemented by the Land Bank of the Philippines, which will also work with ACPC on crafting the program’s guidelines.

“This loan assistance is a manifestation of the strong desire of the government to help Filipino rice farmers,” DA Secretary William D. Dar said in a statement.

With the approval of the loan assistance, Mr. Dar said he is positive production and income of rice farmers will improve.

The SURE Aid funding was approved during the 66th Governing Council Meeting of ACPC last Aug. 15.

The program targets rice farmers affected by the reduction or loss of their income, providing loan assistance.

Starting Sept. 1, rice farmers farming one hectare and below may avail a one-time, zero-interest loan of P15,000 payable for up to eight years.

The National Food Authority will also buy the produce of the farmers who will avail of the loan assistance.

“We will continue to look at measures to improve the living conditions of our rural stakeholders. Rest assured that with RCEF (Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund), farmers will increase productivity and earn more,” Mr. Dar said. — VMPG