MANKAYAN, Benguet – Some one hundred farmers from six barangays in the municipality were approved by the Cordillera office of the Department of Agriculture (DA-CAR) as the recipients of the financial assistance from the agency’s Survival and Recovery (SURE) program that aims to aid agriculture industry stakeholders who were heavily impacted by the implementation of the two-month community quarantine.
Mayor Frenzel A. Ayong said that last week, some 20 farmers from Barangay Balili received their financial assistance amounting to P25,000 each which they will use to revitalize their vegetable farming activities for them to recover from the impact of the community quarantine to the local economy and their main source of livelihood.
Further, 16 farmers each from Barangays Tabio, Bulalacao, Guinaoang, Suyoc and Taneg will receive their assistance any time.
He added that the remaining beneficiaries of the program will be receiving their loan assistance in the coming weeks after the DA and municipal government shall have arranged the definite schedule for the distribution of the amount to each of the identified beneficiaries.
The DA’s SURE loan assistance aims to support the government’s goal of helping agricultural households in calamity-affected areas regain their capacity to earn a living; and provide immediate relief to small farmers and fisher folks through loan and emergency assistance packages.
Through the agency’s SURE loan assistance program, small farmers and fisherfolk affected by disasters, especially from areas declared under state of calamity, may avail themselves of financing assistance of up to P25,00 per borrower at zero percent interest rate and repayment is based on capacity to pay up to 3 years.
Based on the guidelines of the SURE program, loan purpose must be to finance requirements in rehabilitating farming, fishing, livelihood activities.
Mayor Ayong disclosed that the beneficiaries of the program were screened by the agriculture department through the established guidelines of the program where the final list of recipients was furnished to the local government for dissemination to the different barangays.
He urged the initial recipients of the loan assistance to wisely use the proceeds of the land in improving their damaged farms for them to be able to produce sufficient supply of vegetables that will be sold in the different markets for them to be able to revive the vibrance of vegetable production in their respective places.
The local chief executive also expressed his gratitude to DA-CAR officials for facilitating the timely release of the funds so that the heavily impacted farmers will have the needed capital to produce their chosen crops for the next cropping season to allow them to recover from the effects of previous natural calamities and the recent community quarantine to their primary source of income.
The upper barangays of the municipality are considered to be part of the vegetable-producing barangays in northern Benguet while the town’s lower barangays are the so-called mineral-rich barangays that provide sustainable livelihood to thousands of small-scale miners who are still awaiting the decision of the government on their application for the establishment of Minahang Bayan areas in the municipality.
Further, Mankayan is one of the first-class municipalities in the province that rely both on agricultural production and large and small-scale mining as its primary source of income to provide for the implementation of development projects and improve the delivery of basic services to the people.