“Pag may utang dapat bayaran, and there is a distinction between loan and grant.” This was emphasized by  Adelina Loza, Chief  of the Agribusiness and Marketing Division during the orientation on DA Credit Programs  for farmers and fisher-folks at a  Hotel here in Naga City on July 11, 2018.

The Department of Agriculture Bicol in partnership with the Agriculture Credit Policy Council  conducted  the activity. More than 100 participants composed of officials and members of various  Multi Purpose Cooperatives, LGU credit focal persons and Municipal Agriculturists actively took part on the said briefing. The activity aimed to update the farmers and fisher-folks on the various  credit programs available and explain the mechanics of the program being offered by the DA. The credit Programs presented were: Production Loan Easy Access (PLEA) Program; Survival Recovery (SURE) Assistance Program and the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF).

According the Ding Pereyra, Project Development Officer IV, ACPC, the PLEA program was created in 2017 through the instruction of the DA secretary.  He announced that starting May this year, all provinces not included in the said program will now be accommodated. Under this program, loans of P50,000 to P150,000 can be availed through partner conduits with a low interest rate of 6% per annum. Eligible borrowers are Marginal Small Farmers and Fisher-folks  who  has  a farmland of not more than 3 hectares he added.

Under the Survival Recovery (SURE) Program, eligible borrowers are those affected by calamities from areas declared under state of calamity. Loanable amount is 25,000 pesos each with 0% interest. Only 3% service fee will be charged by the conduits. Repayment is up to three years.

Engr. Joan D. Salcedo, Senior Accounts Mgt. Specialist of Landbank- Camarines Lending Center discussed the Policies and Lending requirements of the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF).  “Ang ACEF ay nilipat ng DA sa Landbank  kasi marunong magpautang at marunong mangolekta and aming bangko. Meron din tayong sinusunod na guidelines” she said. “Upon the directive of Secretary Pinol, instead of  traditional grants, this fund is shifted to a formal process,” she added. Target borrowers are individual farmers & fisher-folks, Coops & Registered Micro & Small  Enterprise with viable projects, no outstanding loan with same projects and has  marketable surplus of the project.  Loanable amount is up to P10 million with a low interest rate of 2% per annum.

Under the Working Capital Loan, amount considered is up to P5 million with an annual interest of 6% (diminishing). Repayment is based on cash flow up to 5 years. The purpose of the program is to finance working capital of trading, marketing & processing of agricultural products.

Meanwhile Engr.Maria Janice Obias, OIC-Marketing and Sales Department, PCIC discussed the Insurance Policies and Requirement for the PLEA & SURE Program.

Other requirements to avail of the said loan programs are: Inclusion in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA), duly accomplished enrolment form and farm budget record. (B. Nunez)