BUTUAN CITY, Mar. 16 (PIA) -- A sure and faster way of helping affected small farmers to recover from recent severe flooding in Caraga Region has been given utmost priority of the government.

After Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol’s ground assessment of affected areas in Caraga, the DA immediately provided a recovery loan package called SURE program.

SURE, which stands for Survival and Recovery, gives access to farmers to avail of an interest-free loan package amounting P25,000 payable in three years.

The loan package is now implemented through DA’s Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) in partnership with conduit banks, cooperatives and other financial institutions whichever is accessible to the farmers in affected areas.

ACPC Administrative Officer Noel Clarence Ducusin said that the SURE program is a response of the government to help the farmers recover faster from damages brought by intermittent weather conditions and calamities.

“After Secretary Piñol saw in person the extent of damage on farms during his personal visit here in Caraga Region, ACPC immediately formulated the guidelines for this kind of loan package,” Ducusin revealed.

As per guideline, SURE recovery loan package is extended to small farmers whose farms incurred considerable damages brought by calamities and is situated in an area declared under the state of calamity.  SURE gives priority to small farmers, meaning, a farmer whose land area is not more than five hectares.

The said loan package is designed to finance the requirements of rehabilitating the farms, and or livelihood activities of fisherfolks to include the purchase of production inputs, repair of farm or fishery assets, acquisition of livestock or working animals.   

Typhoon Auring and the Tail-End of the Cold Front last January has placed 12 municipalities in Agusan del Sur, three municipalities in Agusan del Norte and the city of Butuan under the state of calamity.

Currently, ACPC is awaiting the final lists of affected farmers who may qualify the loan portfolio from the respective local government units to ascertain the needed amount and to give the go signal to the financial conduits to start releasing the loan package. The loan package is also open to fisherfolks.  (Aurelius P. Arais, DA-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)