ROXAS CITY, Capiz – The Lonoy Agrarian Reform Cooperative (ARC) of Ivisan and Sapi-an, Capiz received P5-million funding from the Department of Agriculture (DA) Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) on April 11, 2019 during 12th Provincial Farmers and Fisherfolk’s Day celebration.
Chaired by Jiner Dalida, Lonoy ARC has 186 members and the first lending conduit of the Production Loan Easy Access (PLEA) program in Capiz.
PLEA is a loan facility designed to address the financial needs of the small and marginal farmers and fisherfolk by providing them easy access to loans.
Farmers can borrow up to P50,000 with only six percent interest rate per annum under PLEA, a non-collateralized loaning program for agri-fishery production.
“Secretary Manny Piñol has been emphasizing that technology, marketing, and financing are the three things needed by farmers. According to him, farmers have no problem with technology because we have been giving a lot of it to farmers and fisherfolk. What farmers really need is financing,” said Regional Executive Director Remelyn R. Recoter of DA Western Visayas.
Majority of the farmers are dependent on traders and private lenders for financing, she said.
“Iya ni ya sang gobyerno nga ginapaagi sa cooperative bilang conduit kag six percent lang ang interest within the cropping period. Imbes nga didto sa ‘5-6’ didto sa paalili, almost one-hundred percent ang iya patubo. That is why this Production Loan Easy Access is an opportunity to farmers and fisherfolk. (sic),” Recoter explained.
On the other hand, two more farmers’ cooperatives in Capiz have signed a memorandum of agreement with ACPC for PLEA program.
The Agraca Agrarian Reform Cooperative (ARC) of Brgy. San Rafael, Dumalag has a total approved fund allocation of P3 million that will benefit 248 small farmers and fisherfolk. This cooperative is composed of 374 members and 95 percent of which are farmers. They are into production loan, palay trading, and postharvest facilities rental.
According to provincial credit desk officer Cecil Borres, Agraca ARC had already accessed Agrarian Production Credit Program loan from DA.
“However, their fund is not sufficient because it was intended only for rice farmers. With the PLEA program, the coop intends to cater to other agricultural commodities including corn, vegetables, and livestock,” Borres cited.
Meanwhile, Maayon Development Cooperative (MDC) has a total approved fund allocation of P10 million for their 200 small farmers and fisherfolk. This 19-year-old coop is also offering production loan, palay trading, saving, and consumer store services.
DA-ACPC is currently evaluating and validating 10 more farmers’ cooperatives in Capiz that will serve as PLEA lending conduits. (S. M. H. Toreno and Photos by Janine Marie G. Improgo/DA-RAFIS-6)