Agri chief wants farmers to be financially literate

NARRA, PalawanAgriculture Secretary Emmanuel PiAol has instructed the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) to develop a module that would prepare farmers and fishers in the efficient management of their finances.

The Financial Literacy program, to be undertaken by the ATI with the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC), will educate farmers, fishers, livestock raisers, vegetable growers, and other agricultural stakeholders in organizing their budgetary operations to allow them to spend for their projects wisely and earn a higher income.

The Secretary's order forms part of the master plan to maintain the high repayment success rate of the loan programs launched by the Department of Agriculture (DA) under the ACPC.

The agriculture chief mentioned that farmers who had availed of financial aid under the Production Loan Easy Access (PLEA) credit facility during its launch in Malimono, Surigao del Norte on June 23 last year have already paid their dues even before the maturity date of their loans.

We want other farmers to follow suit, PiAol said during the Biyaheng Bukid in Narra, Palawan on Thursday.

With advance payments made, the PHP15 million lent by DA earned PHP900,000 in interest, which the government will make available for other farmers and fishers to enhance their production.

PiAol added the vegetable farmers in the Cordillera region were also able to repay 100 percent of their loans last December.

The current repayment success of DA loans is posted at 96 percent.

The government has money to lend to you, but we need assurance that you will pay your dues so that others may benefit as well, PiAol told the farmers.

He cited that the ACPC, to date, has PHP400 million in credit funds available under the Farm Equipment and Postharvest Facility Loan Program.

The credit facility is available to farmers' and fishers' associations and cooperatives at 2 percent interest, payable in eight years, without collateral.

We encourage you to avail of this program and be service providers, so you can earn additional income from other farm production activities, he said.

While in Narra, PiAol distributed PHP25,286,700 worth of assistance in the form of agricultural equipment, hybrid rice seeds, vegetable seeds, cacao seedlings, fertilizer, and other farm inputs.

He also awarded fishery livelihood assistance to fisherfolk groups of Narra, San Vicente, Magsaysay, and El Nido amounting to PHP7 million.

The municipality of El Nido also received an additional PHP2 million worth of Fisheries Livelihood Project from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources as part of its reward for being one of the 100 towns to immediately complete its Municipal Fishing Vessels and Gears Registration or BoatR. (DA-AFID PR)

Source: Philippine News Agency