Dollars Finally Reach the SEA Farming Community!

Throughout the last two months, the Asian Business Institute and Resource Center staff have been working closely with Southeast Asian (SEA) farmers to gain an understanding of how they are navigating through these challenging times. With no signs of the pandemic ending any time soon, SEA farmers are facing serious economic hardship. Most of their spring crops were not harvested and have gone to waste due to the drop in demand and farmers markets have shut-down. As the summer approaches, SEA farmers are questioning if they want to continue farming. Farmer Chong Ge Xiong noted, “My income has been slashed by seventy-five percent because I can’t sell most of my crops. I don’t know if I should continue putting money in. If I plant, and things don’t get better, I’ll just have wast my time, resources, and energy. If I don’t plant, and things do get better, I won’t have anything to sell.”

The Small Business Administration launched the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan to support farmers through this pandemic. Most of the SEA farmers didn’t even know about PPP and were last in line to apply due to language barriers. Many farmers struggled to complete the application and some could not qualify for either program. ABIRC staff assisted the farmers with applications and sought after other sources to help these farmers, such as grants from the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) and the American Farmland Trust (AFT).

After a month of helping over 40 farmers to apply for grants and loans, ABIRC is glad to announce that six SEA farmers in the Central Valley are among the recipients for the CAFF Emergency Relief grant. Each farmer received a $2,500 check that they can use to maintain their farm. With the second round of funding coming out, ABIRC will continue to help farmers to apply for crisis relief grants.

SEA farmers recipients:

  • Chong Ge Xiong
  • Cheng Kou Siong
  • Kao Ashley Vang
  • Lilian Yang
  • Tou Vang
  • Zia Thea Xiong

 

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