7,157 farmers in Region XII benefit from DA’s easy access loan

KORONADAL CITY- Farmers and fisherfolks of SOCCSKSARGEN Region have already accessed P250-Million worth of financing credits from the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Production Loan Easy Access (PLEA) Program.

DA XII Regional Executive Director Milagros Casis disclosed that a total of Php 250, 289,510 were availed by 7,157 small farmers and fisherfolks of the region from the PLEA Program being implemented by the DA’s attached agency - Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC).

The lady director also noted that the said amount was taken from the P268-M total loans turned-over to the different partner lending conduits in the region.

She also reported that North Cotabato Province got the biggest chunk with P148-M adding that a total of 4,624 farmers from the province were able to avail of the said production loan.

“The loans from PLEA were used by the beneficiaries mostly for the production of rice, corn, high value crops, swine, cattle and poultry,” Director Casis shared.

Of the total farmers in the region who availed of the loan facility, she further said that 2,591 were rice farmers while 2,434 were corn farmers.

Progress in production was seen in one of the coop recipients in Cotabato, the Mu-an Farmers Multi-purpose Cooperative.

Ecclesiastes Roque, the general manager, said that PLEA Program helped banana farmer-members, especially those who have no personally owned banana plantation, as additional financing for their other farm activities.

“We were able to increase our harvest,” Roque added.

Other members of the coop also availed the loaning facility and used it for hog raising.

“From just six piglets, our members were able to expand our hog raising project. Some members have already acquired their own sows,” he noted.

Mua-an MPC also established a coop-managed piggery because of this program.

Meanwhile, Henry Magdato of Pigcawayan, Cotabato, noted that the program is a big help to small farmers like him because of the low interest rate.

"Before, we went to traders to finance our planting and they offered high interest rates, but now, through the PLEA Program, I borrowed P25,000.00, and I was able to save money because of the low interest," Magdato said.

He added that he was able to use the money he saved for the expenses of his children at school.

PLEA is a loan facility of the DA-ACPC designed to address the financial needs of marginal and small farmers and fisherfolks.

Non-collateralized loans for agri-fishery production are provided under the PLEA through cooperative banks, rural banks, cooperatives and non-government organizations (NGOs) as lending conduits.

Eligible borrowers, depending on the agri-fishery production project to be financed, can avail up to Php50,000.

Interest rate is six percent per annum or 0.5% per month. Interest is not deducted in advance from the loan.

The loan is due within a period ranging from two up to ten years depending on the commodity of the borrower or the activity the loan applicant is involved with.

Insurable agri-fishery commodities financed under this program may be covered with crop insurance by the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation.

To those small farmers and fisherfolks who have not availed of the PLEA Program yet, Director Casis advises them to visit their local agriculture offices or the regional office for further information and assistance. (CULAguillon)