DA allots P65M for vegetable, strawberry farmers in Benguet, Mountain Province
The government has allotted an initial P65 million in credit funds under the Production Loan Easy Access Program (PLEA) for vegetable and strawberry farmers in Benguet and Mountain Province.
This was bared Friday by Kristine Ann Balingan, the focal person of the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) in Benguet.
PLEA is a credit financing program of ACPC, an attached agency of the Department Agriculture.
During the special thanksgiving and dedication activity at the capital town on Friday, Balingan disclosed the fund’s availability to the La Trinidad-Japan Agriculture Trainees Association (LAJATA), a private organization that advocates good agriculture practices.
According to Balingan, out of the P65 million credit facility, P50 million will go to Benguet, while the P15 million is allocated for the farmers of Mountain Province.
The ACPC official said PLEA funds are also available for Apayao and Kalinga, but figures were not disclosed.
Based on the PLEA paper presented by Balingan, the PLEA facility is a special credit program designed to address the financial needs of marginal and small farmers and fisherfolk for a fast, convenient, and affordable credit.
She added the fund is offered on non-collateralized loans for agri-fishery production, with cooperative banks, cooperatives, farmers and fisherfolk organizations, and non-government organizations (NGOs) serving as credit delivery conduits.
Eligible borrowers can avail themselves of up to PHP50,000, depending on the agri-fishery production project to be financed. Only one member of each household can avail of a loan at a time. A household member can either be the head, spouse, or adult working member.
Balingan said each loan carries an interest rate of 6 percent per annum, or 0.5 percent per month. A loan is payable within a period of two to 10 years, depending on the commodity or the activity the loan applicant is involved in.
Balingan said in 2017, P30 million was released out of P43.06 million allotted credit facility for Benguet.
She said 550 farmers and 14 farmer cooperatives benefited from the special financing program. (PNA)