• Sugar regulatory body, Land Bank to implement socialized credit program

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    The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) and the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) have signed a memorandum of agreement to implement the socialized credit program under the Farm Support and Farm Mechanization Programs of the Sugarcane Industry Development Act (SIDA).

    The socialized credit program or Socialized Credit Facility (SCF) will be available to SRA-registered sugarcane farmers, block farms, and planters’ cooperatives, associations, federations, and Common Service Providers.

    The SCF has a mandatory budget allocation of P300 million, which will be made available through the Land Bank; said amount is to be used for the acquisition of production inputs, farm machineries, and implements necessary for the continuous production of sugarcane.

    Pursuant to the MOA, an SCF Management Committee (SCFMC) will be created with representatives from SRA and LBP. The committee will provide direction and formulate policies for the SCF; monitor the performance of the SCF; act on issues or concerns relative to program implementation; and conduct SCF performance evaluation.

    Under the SIDA, the SRA serves as the link of programs that government agencies may propose for funding by the Department of Budget and Management, through the national government’s “bottoms up” budgeting strategy.

    One such centerpiece program under SIDA is block farming which is envisioned to eventually turn small farms into plantations.

    The SIDA also aims, on the long term, to efficiently manage these block farms through precision farming to be accomplished by preventing the displacement of sugarcane workers and eliminating child labor.

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