LEGAZPI CITY—Farmer  Lorna L. Solinad, 41, from Balasbas, Manito, Albay would resort to a “para sabala” everytime she needs more money to support her rice production. A “para sabala” is someone that pays in advance the harvest of farmers but with an almost 90% interest. This is an informal lending scheme resorted to by farmers.


Solinad is one of the 24 farmers in the town of Manito who sighed a big relief from their loan woes when they learned of the Production Loan Easy Access (PLEA) Program of the Department of Agriculture through the  Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC).


Nemia Buitre, 57, attested that with PLEA, she is assured of a good profit from her rice farm because of its low interest of 6% per year. Her loan proceeds will be used to buy fertilizers, pesticides and wages of her laborers during harvest.


Oscar L. Odiver, 52 of Barangay Matnog, Daraga, Albay considered his approved amount of Php50,000.00 to finance his swine-raising project in addition to his vegetable and rice farms a big boost to his income.


Odiver is one of the 84 farmers in Daraga, Albay who availed of the PLEA program because of its low interest and payment scheme.


According to Camalig Bank’s Credit Department Head Joy P. Carreon, being a conduit bank for PLEA is their way of helping the farmers. The ACPC allocated a total of Php20M pesos for the six branches of the bank in Albay and Masbate.


Farmer Hermie N. Obal, 45 said that with his loan, he will be able to improve his vegetable farm, coconut and livestock small enterprise. He believes that this loan is truly an assistance for the farmers like him who want a brighter future for their family. He said that with its low interest and considerate payment scheme, his farm income plus his wife Maribeth’s income from weaving abaca twines will help their six kids finish school.


The PLEA Program is a credit program designed to address the financial needs of the marginal and small farmers and fisherfolk for a fast, convenient and affordable credit.


According to ACPC staff Michael Roquid, the application of the conduit banks in Camarines Norte, Sorsogon, Masbate and Catanduanes are still being processed.


At present only the Banco Santiago De Libon (BSDL), CB and Rural Bank of Guinobatan (RBG) are the identified conduit banks.


For Albay, the conduit banks include BSDL, CB, Rural Bank of Pilar and RBG. For Camarines Sur, the conduit entities are only CB and BDSL. (jaysonmgonzales)