THIRTY-SEVEN agrarian reform beneficiaries organizations (Arbos) in the northern part of Negros Occidental have obtained P103 million worth of credit assistance through the Agrarian Production Credit Program (APCP) as of September 2015.
Records of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Negros Occidental - North showed that the 37 organizations are comprised of 1, 550 ARBs, covering 1, 700 hectares of farm land - 70 percent for sugarcane production and 30 percent of other crops.
Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer (PARPO) I Mila Flores said Tuesday that of the P103 million target this year, P91 million was already released to beneficiaries.
The credit line for the remaining P13 million was already approved and is up for release, she added.
Flores said the credit assistance is being utilized by farmer-beneficiaries for land preparation and farm cultivation, including seed pieces (patdan), fertilizer, and other expenses until the harvest.
The APCP, which was implemented in 2013, is pursuant to the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (Carper) through DAR, and its partner agency the Department of Agriculture (DA) with Land Bank of the Philippines as the depository bank. It is mainly aimed at preventing Carp beneficiaries from selling or leasing the land.
This also aims to give ARBs an outright support for credit upon the receipt of their Certificate of Land Ownership Award (Cloa), assisting them to be ready to start and continue cultivating farms, Flores said.
The program has greatly helped them particularly in increasing crop yield, she added.
Flores said that ARB organizations in Hacienda Bernardito in Cadiz City, through the credit assistance program, have doubled their sugarcane production from 40 tons cane per hectare to 80 TC/Ha, and increased sugar yield quality from 1.2 LKg/TC to 2.5 LKg/TC.
Moreover, in terms of repayment, DAR North recorded a positive rate of 95 percent in 2014, and 90 percent up this year.
Flores, however, said there were three individual beneficiaries who defaulted in payments this year.
This is not an "intent default," but is mainly due to revision of APCP implementing rules and regulation, and some portions of the payment were utilized by farmers to purchase farm materials like fertilizer while the renewal of line is still on process, the DAR official said.
Flores said the agency continues to encourage agrarian reform beneficiaries to practice collective farming so that they can minimally experience financial constraints and avail more of community support services from the government. (EPN)
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on October 07, 2015.