As the Department of Agriculture (DA) sets its sight on intensifying the implementation of its agri-fishery credit programs for 2019, various DA – Regional Field Offices (RFO) together with the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) have already started establishing their Loan Facilitation Teams (LoFTs) at the regional and provincial levels.

Department of Agriculture Secretary (DA) Emmanuel F. Pinol directed the ACPC to install the LoFTs in every region and province to assist stakeholders, particularly the farmers and fishers, in completing loan documentary requirements to make sure that they can avail themselves of the agri-fishery credit programs.

The LoFTs, composed of representatives from various DA attached agencies and LGUs, will provide the needed technical assistance support to farmers and fishers on credit awareness, loan acquisition, utilization and repayment.

As of January 2019, three (3) DA RFOs have already conducted an Orientation cum Establishment of LoFTs. These are: 1) DA-CARAGA which formed the first ever Regional and Provincial Loan Facilitation Teams (R-LoFT and P-LoFT) on January 16-17, 2019 in Butuan City with 50 participants; 2) DA-RFO 1 on January 25, 2019 in San Fernando City, La Union with 30 participants; and 3) DA RFO 2 on January 31, 2019 in Tuguegarao City with 150 participants.

Participants in these activities included LoFT members and representatives of DA regional units, attached agencies and bureaus, provincial local government units and Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP). The participants were oriented on the various credit programs of the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC), the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF) implemented by the LBP and the insurance programs of the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC).

A workshop was facilitated by the ACPC and AMAD wherein the compositions of both the R-LoFT and Provincial-LoFTs (P-LoFTs) and activities to operationalize them were identified, drafted and presented.

The activities were spearheaded by the Regional Agri Credit Desk Officers (RACDO) and Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD) chiefs Ms. Lynn A. PareƱas of DA- CARAGA, Ms. Cristine De Leon of DA-RFO 2 and Ms. Vivien de los Santos, Ms. Ma Rosario Paccarangan and Ms Jacqueline Calaycay of DA-RFO 1.

Other DA-RFOs have already scheduled their LoFt orientation-workshop and establishment in the next two months.