Rehab of banana plantations set

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11:57 PM January 6th, 2013

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By: Niña P. Calleja, January 6th, 2013 11:57 PM

A rare cloud formation is seen amid destroyed banana plantation four days after typhoon Pablo rendered extensive damage to agriculture at Montevista town, Compostela Valley, on Dec. 8, 2012. Sumifru Banana Corp., Land Bank of the Philippines and banana growers in areas hard-hit by Pablo are set to sign a tripartite agreement to rehabilitate affected banana plantations in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said on Friday, Jan. 4, 2013. AP/BULLIT MARQUEZ

MANILA, Philippines—Japanese firm Sumifru Banana Corp., Land Bank of the Philippines and banana growers in areas hard-hit by Typhoon “Pablo” are set to sign a tripartite agreement to rehabilitate affected banana plantations in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley.

“They will sign the agreement and assess the farmers’ needs by next week,” Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said in an interview on Friday.

Alcala said the three parties met on Friday to lay out the rehabilitation plan for the country’s major banana-producing areas.

“They (the three parties) will be our conduit to ensure that interest rates (for the funds to be used in the rehabilitation) will remain single-digit,” he said, noting that the interest rates with collateral should not be more than 8 percent.

Earlier, LBP has offered a P2-billion loan facility for all the banana growers whose farms were destroyed by Typhoon Pablo.

The banana sector was hit by the typhoon in December, sustaining losses of P22.23 billion. The damage to agriculture and fisheries then ballooned to P29.1 billion, the highest in recent years, according to DA records.

According to a report of the DA’s field unit in Region 11, about P33.35 million will be needed for the rehabilitation of banana plantations in the region.

Alcala said since the rehabilitation effort might take at least a year, LBP had offered a two-year grace period in the payment of the five-year loans.

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