GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/28 September) – Palay farmers in South Cotabato and other rice-producing areas in the region may now avail of loans through a new credit facility opened by the Land Bank of the Philippines to boost rice production in Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao.
Reynaldo Legaste, South Cotabato provincial agriculture office chief, said farmers can borrow as much as P46,000 per hectare for palay production.
He said the production loans were made available through an allocation from the national government that was channeled through Land Bank.
“This is mainly aimed at helping local farmers, especially those who don’t have enough capital at this time, to plant again and at the same time increase the area’s palay yield,” Legaste said.
Under the scheme, he said farmers may avail of production loans of at least P38,000 per hectare for those using inbreed palay varieties and P42,000 to P46,000 per hectare for those using hybrid palay varieties.
Aside from getting new loans, Legaste said farmers who have outstanding loans with Land Bank may also negotiate for the restructuring of their loans.
As a requirement, he said farmers who want to avail of the program must attend a two-day seminar on values formation.
Citing a program review earlier conducted by various financing firms, Legaste said there is a need introduce moral recovery program and values reorientation to prospective farmer-beneficiaries due to low loan repayment turnout.
“We need to change the notion that anything coming from the government is free,” he said.
Legaste said the values formation program will mainly focus on making the farmers aware of their responsibility to promptly repay their loans.
“This will encourage our farmers to change their attitude of not paying their existing loans because it will deny them the chance of availing other assistance being offered the government,” he said.
In a recent meeting with officials of various financing institutions in the area, Legaste said he requested them to give utmost priority to farmers whenever they visit their offices.
He said officials of the financing firms agreed “to give our farmers a chance and serve them with ease.” (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)