Sec. Piñol directs ACPC to organize Loan Facilitation Teams in every province

To help farmers and fisherfolk comply with the requirements and guide them on how to easily avail loans, Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol directed the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) to install Loan Facilitation Teams in every province during the Harmonization of DA’s Extension Support, Education, and Training Services (ESETS) on April 27, 2018 in Baguio City.

According to the DA Secretary, the provincial Loan Facilitation Teams will be tasked to assist stakeholders in completing loan documentary requirements to make sure that they can avail of the agri-fishery credit programs.

“Let’s not make things difficult for our stakeholders,” the Secretary said noting that many of the farmers and fisherfolk have poor educational background. “If we can do this, things will change. Believe me,” added Sec. Piñol.

During the activity organized by the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), Secretary Piñol announced the DA’s major policy shift from subsidies to easy access financing. He explained that subsidies program has been marked with corruption issues and slow implementation due to political interference and “lowest bidder” concept.

On the other hand, easy access financing leads to more efficient and faster procurement while also giving the farmers and fisherfolk freedom to choose whatever variety of seeds, brand of fertilizer and kind of equipment they need in their farms and fishing activities. He added that the government will also save money that could sustain the financing programs.

“The DA needs to prepare the stakeholders for this major policy shift,” said Piñol. Hence, he directed the ATI to conduct financial literacy training for farmers and fishermen’s groups. ACPC’s Executive Director Jocelyn Alma Badiola, together with Division Chiefs Alvin Cabato of the Institutional Capacity Building Unit and Emmalyn Guinto of the Public Affairs and Communication Division, took part in the direction-charting workshop which shall synchronize DA’s training activities with its banner programs.

During the workshop attended by key officers of DA and its attached bureaus and agencies, the Secretary also reported that under the Production Loan Easy Access (PLEA) Program, fisherfolk of Malimono, Surigao del Norte paid their loans ahead of the maturity date posting an incredible repayment rate of 195%.

Additional P50 million PLEA fund for CAR

During the Farmer’s Forum held the same day at the Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center (BAPTC) in Benguet, Secretary Emmanuel Piñol expressed gratitude to the farmers in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) for registering 100% repayment rate of the initial P46 million credit under the PLEA program.

“Congratulations. It just proves that we can rely on the people of Cordillera in paying their loans,” said Piñol. “Thus, I am committing an additional P50 million loan fund to Cordillera under the PLEA Program,” he added.