Sagip Saka Act or Republic Act No. 11321
The new Republic Act was signed on April 17,2019 delivering mechanisms for the “Farmers and Fisher folk Enterprise Development Program”. The program highly promotes enterprise establishments that involves agricultural and fishery products and develop alliances between the two key players and the private sectors for a better market access.
This is a green light for both parties where they can avail assistance in skills development, extensive access to credit grants and crop insurances and accede to modern technologies for research and progress. It actually covers production in agricultural and fisheries, provision of work animals, fishery and farm equipment, as well as machineries, seeds, fertilizer, poultry and livestock feeds. They will also provide storage, trading and processing until distribution for agricultural and fishery products. For finances, the program will also ensure capital for agriculture and fisheries graduates for them to further engaged in economic activities and so in. these are just some of the benefits that farmers and fishermen can receive.
The program is intended to help farmers and fisherfolk make a decent living out of agriculture and fisheries. To do this, the program will provide assistance like agricultural extension services; skills development; provision of production inputs, equipment, and facilities; and infrastructure for production and post-production activities.
It should also help improve farmers’ and fisherfolk’s access to credit grants, crop insurance, and new technologies. Another form of assistance is helping their trade grow by improving their access to markets. (READ: Farmers’ preferences to be considered in agriculture procurement)
The program covers the following:
- Agricultural and fisheries production, including fisheries and agri-based products and farm inputs
- Acquisition of work animals, farm and fishery equipment and machinery
- Acquisition of seeds, fertilizer, poultry, livestock, feeds, and other similar items
- Procurement of agricultural and fisheries products for storage, trading, processing, and distribution
- Construction, acquisition, and repair of facilities for production, processing, storage, transportation, communication, marketing, and such other facilities in support of agriculture and fisheries
- Working capital for agriculture and fisheries graduates to enable them to engage in agriculture and fisheries
- Agribusiness activities which support soil and water conservation and ecology enhancing activities
- Working capital for long gestating projects
- Credit guarantees on uncollateralized loans to farmers and fisherfolk
Gov’t to buy directly from farmers, fishermen
As a further boon to farmers and fisherfolk, the law orders all government entities to directly purchase agricultural and fisheries products from local farmer and fisherfolk enterprises.
“For example, the government feeding programs under the nutrition and health programs should buy rice, vegetables, fruits, chickens, and other agricultural products directly from farmers and fisherfolk to take away the middlemen who earn the most out of the toil of farmers and fishermen.
The measure exempts both national government agencies and local governments from the Procurement Law when it purchases agricultural products directly from accredited farmers coops and organizations.
It also imposes a slew of tax incentives and exemptions to encourage assistance for farmers and fisherfolk.
These are the following:
- Gifts and donations of real and personal properties shall be exempt from donor’s tax
- Local government units will exempt structures, buildings, and warehouses used to store farm inputs and outputs from real property tax (as long as assessed value of property is P3 million or less)
- The Land Bank of the Philippines will provide preferential rates and special window to accredited farmer and fisherfolk enterprises
- Exemptions from income tax may be provided for income arising from the operations of the enterprise as long as the farmer and fisherfolk cooperatives and enterprises are registered as barangay micro-business enterprises based on the Barangay Micro-Business Enterprises Act of 2002