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Affected farmers to get P50-M help

By ELLALYN RUIZ

The Department of Agriculture (DA) has allotted an initial budget of P50 million to assist farmers affected by the bird flu outbreak in Pampanga.

DA Secretary Manny Piñol said P25,000 loan assistance under the Agricultural Credit Policy Council’s Survival and Recovery Assistance Program or SURE can be immediately provided for each farmer, P5,000 of which will come in the form of government grant, while the P20,000 will be a no-collateral and no-interest loan, which will be payable in two years, he said.

“We will offer these to the farmers within the one-kilometer radius contained area and seven-kilometer controlled areas,” Piñol noted, adding that the loan package can be accessed by the farmers “hopefully in a week’s time.”

In addition, farmers will be compensated P80 per head of culled poultry animal.

Piñol said this translates to a total of P16 million for the 200,000 chicken, ducks, quails, pigeons and fighting roosters to be culled.

He pointed out that San Luis is producing 99,000 of broiler chickens, which is 18 percent of the production in the entire Pampanga province.

About 4.5 million is produced by the whole province, which is only 7 percent of the total national production, Piñol said.

“It will have impact. Seven percent is seven percent. But it is not that much because we can easily cover this up by asking poultry growers outside Central Luzon to grow more,” he explained.

Meanwhile, the production of layer heads in San Luis is about 116,000 or 3 percent of the total population of layers in Pampanga. The whole Pampanga province has 4,277,648 layers or 12 percent of the total national population of layers.

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