THE Enhanced Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (EPAHP) program and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) launched a new lending program that aims to support agrarian reform beneficiaries organizations to enhance food security initiatives.

In a statement Thursday, DAR said EPAHP, through the Land Bank of the Philippines, has allocated P2 billion for the program, which can be tapped until Dec. 21, 2022.

“It offers a loanable amount of up to 80% of the awarded contract price for goods that will be delivered by the agrarian reform beneficiaries’ organizations to a contracting government agency. Each credit facility has a short-term loan line with a 5% interest rate per annum,” the DAR said.

Agrarian Reform Undersecretary Emily O. Padilla said DAR regional offices have been ordered to introduce the new lending project to beneficiaries of EPAHP, which is run by various departments.

Ms. Padilla said the lending program aims to address hunger, poverty, and food security by extending credit to qualified community-based groups.

“As we seek to reach more farmers nationwide, we are heavily focusing on making loans accessible. The program is aggressively strengthening its goals to provide more individual borrowers with direct access to credit especially in this time of pandemic,” Ms. Padilla said.

The lending program will send financing support to the beneficiaries via farmers and fishers’ cooperatives, irrigators associations, and rural financial institutions.

“The purpose of this loan is to finance purchase orders and/or contract receivables from government agencies for the provision of needed food items required in various government programs,” Ms. Padilla said.

EPAHP aims to promote food security, lessen poverty, and mitigate hunger by 2030. It is a joint effort of several government agencies such as the DAR, Department of Agriculture (DA), and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), among others. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave