THE Department of Agriculture is looking for ways to improve credit facility and make it more accessible and available to the Filipino farmer, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said on Wednesday.
“The absence of financing for farmers created a monumental problem in agriculture in the past,” Piñol said after the 63rd ACPC Governing Council Meeting.
The DA chief noted the need for a simple, fast and reliable financing program for farmers and fisherfolk.
“Time is essential especially for farmers. A two-week delay in planting means they may not be able to harvest on time, especially before the typhoon season,” he said.
One of the initiatives is the Program for Unified Lending in Agriculture (PUNLA), which aims to simplify and consolidate the lending programs of the government from seven to three or two credit facilities for a more convenient and less complex lending scheme.
PUNLA has an initial funding of P200 million to boost the agri-fishery industries of the 10 poorest provinces in the country.
It provides loans with less stringent requirements, faster fund-release time and low interest rates.
Another facility is the SURE Loan Program with a P1 billion fund pledged by President Rodrigo Duterte. His commitment comes after Piñol’s recent visit to flood-stricken provinces in Mindanao and the assessment of what the immediate needs of the people.
SURE provides two types of loans, the P15,000 Survival Package for food and subsistence and the P20,000 Recovery Package for farmers and fishermen to spend on fertilizers and other farm inputs. Payable in three year, both packages are interest and collateral free.