THE Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Credit Policy Council (DA-ACPC) has allocated P150 million for loans to farmers and fishermen in areas in Central Visayas devastated by Typhoon Odette (Rai).

Bohol will get the biggest allocation of P70 million, followed by Cebu with P50 million and Negros Oriental with P30 million, said Noel Clarence Ducusin, chief administrative officer of the ACPC.

The Department of Agriculture in Central Visayas (DA 7) announced the development after a meeting with municipal agriculturists in Cebu province in March.

The fund is for the implementation of the DA-ACPC’s Survival and Recovery Assistance (Sure) Program, which provides zero percent interest for loans payable in three years.

In Cebu, 38 towns growing crops and producing livestock, as well as 33 cities and towns identified as fishery areas can avail of the program, the DA 7 said.

Ligaya Ebarita, credit focal person of the DA 7, said 2,133 household beneficiaries are targeted in Cebu.

Interested borrowers must present a government-issued identification card as well as proof of registration under the Registry System for Basic Sector in Agriculture, to their municipal agricultural officer as a first step in applying for inclusion in the program.

Priority will be given to farmers and fishers who have not received any cash benefits from the DA.

In early January, DA 7 Director Joel Elumba said damage to agriculture and fishery in Central Visayas due to Typhoon Odette had reached at least P3.3 billion with some 139,000 farmers and fisherfolk heavily affected by the typhoon.

In Cebu Province, the typhoon did damage from as far north as Bantayan Island to as far south as Oslob town.

Elumba said corn, mango, coconut and seaweed farmers, as well as chicken and pig raisers, were among those severely affected in Cebu.

Typhoon Odette slammed into Cebu on Dec. 16, 2021, packing maximum sustained winds of 175 kilometers per hour (km/hr) near the center and gusts of up to 240 km/hr, wrecking not just crops and agricultural facilities but also homes, commercial structures, and power and communication infrastructure.