Gov’t brings back ACEF loan program
After controversies that resulted to suspension of Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF), the government is bringing back the loaning program to initially provide P4 billion worth of assistance to agriculture and fisheries stakeholders.
“[ACEF], which was marked by corruption in the previous years, is now being offered to the stakeholders of agriculture and fisheries again for a maximum of P1-million for individual borrowers and P5-million for associations and cooperatives,” Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said.
He said that the new ACEF Loaning Program was launched following a thorough review and modification by the Senate Committee on Agriculture under Senator Cynthia Villar imposing only a 2 percent interest per annum.
It is now managed by the Land Bank of the Philippines under the supervision of an Executive Committee headed by the Department of Agriculture, with members from the Agriculture Committees of the Senate and Congress, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Department of Finance, Department of Budget and Management, Land Bank of the Philippines, and representatives from the farmers and fishermen and other agencies.
Under the new ACEF Loaning Program, the applicants will have to deal directly with Land Bank.
In the newly drafted guidelines, ACEF loans could only be used for projects in agriculture and fisheries, including post-harvest and processing facilities.
“This means that fishermen’s groups who have been asking for the establishment of small ice-making equipment in their communities could now avail of this loan to put up the facility, including cold storage,” Piñol said.
“Farmers could also avail of the loan to buy farm tractors, rice-corn combine harvesters and other equipment to improve their productivity,” he added.
Moving forward, the DA will organize teams in every province which will assist the applicants, especially poor farmers, groups and cooperatives, in preparing the documents to be submitted to the bank.