TACLOBAN CITY: The Leyte provincial government has provided more than P2.3 million in loans for rice farmers in Leyte as the new planting season starts. A total of 97 farmers from Babatngon, Tanauan and Santa Fe are beneficiaries of the cash loans under the local rice program. Gov. Leopoldo Dominico Petilla of Leyte, who distributed the loans to the farmers, said this project has been designed to spur farmers’ participation in the local government’s rice production enhancement program. Under the local government’s rice program, farmers are offered cash loans amounting to P15,000 per hectare to cover the expenses for labor, seeds, fertilizers, insurance and pesticides. The farmers would pay back their loans with good quality palay (unmilled rice) which the provincial government would itself buy from the farmers a peso higher than the prevailing market rates.