By Tara Yap
AKLAN — The Department of Agriculture (DA) is assuring farmers and fishermen in Aklan province that programs are in place to ease the livelihood impact with the scheduled closure of Boracay Island in Malay town.
DA-6 regional director Remelyn Recoter disclosed that it was Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol who personnally gave the assurance to the province’s farmers and fisherfolks during a forum in Kalibo town last week.
While no data is available, Aklanon farmers and fishermen supply some of the agricultural produce, seafood and meat needed by hotels, resorts and restaurants in Boracay.
Recoter said Piñol announced emergency loan for those who will be affected.
The agriculture chief also suggested to Aklanon fishermen who go out at sea to look at switching into fishpond operations as an alternative livelihood. Particularly, they should go into breeding of bangus (milkfish).
Meanwhile, Piñol approved a P39-million loan to farmers and fisherman of Aklan under DA’s Production Loan Easy Access (PLEA) program.
Each farmer and fisherfolk can avail a minimum loan of P5,000 up to P50,000 to buy seeds, fertilizers, animal stocks and other production inputs.
PLEA program does not need a collateral, but will only charge those who borrow with a six percent rate per year.