THE Department of Agriculture (DA) has set side an initial P2 billion in funds that young students and entrepreneurs can use as loans to start an agriculture venture.
In a statement on Thursday, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the amount would be used to implement two lending programs under his department’s Agricultural Credit Policy Council (DA-ACPC): the Young Agripreneurs Loan Program (YALP) and Micro and Small Agribusiness Loan Program (MSALP). Each will have a P1-billion budget.
“This is our way to attract the younger generation of Filipinos to be key players in attaining our vision of a food-secure Philippines with prosperous farmers and [fishermen],” said Dar, who leads the ACPC governing council.
“We have to replace aging farmers with younger blood — our Pinoy millennials — who are the future of Philippine agriculture,” he added.
Agripreneurs who can borrow working capital under YALP are agri-fishery graduates and young hobbyists, aged 15 to 30 years old. According to Dar, they can borrow startup funds of up to P500,000, with zero interest, payable in five years.
The MSALP loans, on the other hand, are meant for micro and small enterprises, allowing agripreneurs a fixed asset acquisition ranging from P300,000 to P15 million.
The two programs will be implemented by the DA-ACPC through the Land Bank of the Philippines, ACPC-accredited cooperative banks, rural banks, cooperatives and viable nongovernment organizations.
DA-ACPC Executive Director Jocelyn Badiola said both programs would be launched before the end of January.
To support the programs, Dar said the DA-ACPC would also tap technical experts from state universities and colleges, the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), to train and mentor the young borrowers and agripreneurs.
“This has been one of my advocacies. Let us give our Filipino millennials the means to be part of our journey toward agricultural modernization and industrialization,” he added.