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Province of South Cotabato

DA-12 to open loan facility to SouthCot farmers

KORONADAL CITY -The Department of Agriculture 12 (DA 12) through the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) is set to open its newest loan facility program to South Cotabato farmers dubbed as “Production Loan Easy Access” or PLEA.
The PLEA program which was first availed by farmers in North Cotabato for the Socsksargen Area aims to address the financial needs of the marginal farmers and fisherfolks by providing them easy access to loans, according to its briefer.
Qualified farmers can avail of the loan up to Php50,000 at 2% interest rate payable upon harvest. The amount will be used to buy seeds and fertilizers and other farm inputs.
In a forum recently held here, Mang Kanor, one of the farmers from Norala town is interested to avail of the program considering the high-interest rates they have to endure when borrowing money from private entities.
“Budlay gid kay ang capital sa pagtanum mahal pero, barato naman ang bakal. Wala na kami ibayad sa utang.” he said,
Mang Kanor added, they were hit by the low buying of palay by the traders pegged at Php14/kilo unlike before their produce is sold at Php23-Php27/ kilo.
The implementation of the PLEA program is one of the proposed interventions by the DA-12 to ease the burden of the South Cotabato farmers on the current low prices of their palay when sold to traders.
This is in addition to the procurement scheme implemented by the National Food Authority which gives an incentive of Php3.70/kilo of palay when delivered to their warehouses in addition to its prevailing buying price of Php17/kilo.
In a recent meeting between the NFA and the DA, they have come up with several initiatives to help farmers during this time of crisis.
Aside from the loan facility and procurement incentives, the two agencies will implement the following; Establishment by DA of drying facilities in NFA buying stations to be used by farmers for free or by the NFA for drying palay procured from farmers; use of Rice Processing Facilities established by the DA in 200 areas nationwide; Deployment of mobile procurement trucks by the NFA to pick up farmers’ produce at the farm level; giving of incentives to farmers association or cooperatives such as free machinery like tractors, transplanters or harvesters if they meet a set volume of rice delivered and sold to the NFA; identification of rice seed varieties adaptable to a specific area, focusing on at least three high-yielding rice varieties by the PhilRice in coordination with the DA; and the launching of the incentive program giving farmers 1 bag of Inbred Rice Seeds for every 4-metric tons of palay sold to NFA by the DA, PhilRice and NFA.

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