CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol announced that the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) has readied an initial loan amount of P50-million for farmers affected by the bird flu outbreak.

ACPC is the credit agency of the Department of Agriculture. The P50-billion fund was set up at the Rural Bank of San Luis and is expected to be available by next week.

The loan will be extended to some 2,000 farmers in San Luis town and other neighboring areas in Pampanga whose poultry farms were hit by the avian influenza, according to the secretary.

“Each farming family will be entitled to a P25,000 loan package under the Survival and Recovery Loaning Program for farmers and fisher folks affected by natural and man-made calamity. Of the amount, P5,000 will be given as a grant while the remaining P20,000 will be a no-collateral and no-interest loan payable in two years,” Piñol said.

The loan is in addition to the P80 compensation for every head of chicken or ducks which would be culled and buried in the quarantine operations.

“In addition to the loan and compensation, calamity fund assistance and a bigger loan package are also being prepared so that the affected farmers could start anew after the area has been declared to be free of the presence of the bird flu virus,” Piñol assured.

It could be recalled that 37,000 birds have died from avian influenza subtype H5 in what has been declared as the first bird flu outbreak in the country. The outbreak affected six poultry farms in San Luis town.

A quarantine area was declared within one-kilometer of the affected poultry farms in San Luis. Transport of fowls and eggs from a controlled area within a seven-kilometer radius of the affected farms will not be allowed.