The prospect beneficiaries of Sikat Saka Program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Negros Occidental will undergo credit discipline and financial management seminar on March 22.
The financial management seminar will be administered by the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), according to Pedrito Cabuguason, head of LBP-Bacolod Development Assistance Center. The venue of the seminar has yet to be announced.
Sikat Saka Program is a credit component of DA’s Food Staples Sufficiency Program that aims to make the country rice-sufficient by the end of 2013.
Under the loan program, a qualified farmer planting hybrid rice has the chance to borrow a maximum of P50,000 per hectare with interest rate of 15 percent per annum.
Those using inbred rice seeds, on the other hand, could avail themselves a maximum loan of P41,000 per hectare.
Cabuguason said credit discipline and financial management are needed for this type of program to insure its sustainability and efficiency.
“It is not enough that we provide them loans. The farmers should know how to spend the money wisely so they can pay back in due time,” Cabuguason said.
He cited the experiences of the government in “Masagana 99” wherein some beneficiaries of was not able to pay the government of their loan credit. “There is a big risk in this program yet we trust our farmers,” he stressed.
Masagana 99 was the brainchild of former President Ferdinand Marcos that aims to help farmers produce a bountiful harvest of 99 cavans of rice (4,900 kilos) per hectare.
It was the program that granted farmers the access to improved technology, credit, price support for rice and low-cost fertilizer.
The program, in general, was successful for it made the Philippines self-sufficient and rice exporter to Indonesia and other foreign countries from 1977 to 1978.