To attract more of the youth into the agriculture and fisheries sector and support micro and small agri-fishery business enterprises, the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) approved the allocation of a P2 billion credit fund for two new innovative lending programs during its 67th Governing Council meeting on January 8, 2020 in Manila. 

The Young Agripreneurs Loan Program, which was allocated a P1 billion fund, will finance working capital and/or fixed asset acquisition requirements of start-up or existing agri-based projects of young entrepreneurs and agri-fishery graduates.

Said program, to be implemented by Government and Financial Institutions (GFIs), ACPC-accredited cooperative banks, rural banks, cooperatives, and viable non-government organization (NGOs), offers up to P500,000 loan per borrower payable not more than five years at 0% interest with not more than 3.5% management fee. 

“This has been one of my advocacies. Let us give our Filipino millennials the means to be part of our journey towards agricultural modernization and industrializations,” said Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William D. Dar, who also chairs the ACPC Governing Council.

“We have to replace aging farmers with younger blood — our Pinoy millennials — who are the future of Philippine agriculture,” added the DA chief.

As support component to the program, the ACPC shall engage State Colleges and Universities (SUCs), government agencies such as the Agricultural Training Institute (DA-ATI) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and business development services (BDS) to train and mentor the loan beneficiaries.

On the other hand, the Micro and Small Business Enterprises Loan Program will finance income-generating agri-fishery activities and working capital and/or fixed asset acquisition requirements of micro and small agri-fishery enterprises.

Said credit program, which was also allocated P1 billion credit fund, features on-lending and direct lending schemes to be implemented by GFIs. 

For its on-lending scheme, GFIs will wholesale loans to banks, cooperatives and NGOs as lending conduits which may extend up to P300,000 loan to eligible borrowers with finance charge of up to 6% per annum

For direct lending, GFIs will extend loans directly to micro and small enterprises at 0% interest rate with up to 3.5% per annum service fee. Micro and small enterprises include sole proprietors, partnerships, corporations, associations, and cooperatives whose owners are marginalized, small farmers and fisherfolk.

“The intent of the program is to nurture them (small and medium enterprises) towards a bigger business opportunity,” said Secretary Dar.

Both credit programs, which shall be launched in January 2020, were designed by ACPC to address the financial needs of marginal and small farmers and fisherfolk for fast, convenient and affordable credit.

Along with DA Secretary William D. Dar as Chairperson, ACPC Governing Council members present during the meeting were Monetary Board Member V. Bruce J. Tolentino representing Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin U. Diokno, Treasurer Rosalia V. De Leon representing Department of Finance (DoF) Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III,  Director Nieva T. Natural representing National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director General Ernesto M. Pernia, Director Cristina B. Clasara representing Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Wendel E. Avisado.

Also in attendance during the meeting as resource persons were Landbank of the Philippines (LBP) President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo, Executive Vice President Liduvino S. Geron and Vice President Emellie V. Tamayo, Philippine Guarantee Corporation (PhilGuarantee) President Alberto E. Pascual and Acting Executive Director Emmanuel Torres, Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) First Vice President Paul Lazaro, BSP Managing Director Lyn Javier and Deputy Director Cynthia M. Sison.

The said meeting was organized by the ACPC led by its Executive Director Jocelyn Alma R. Badiola together with Deputy Executive Director Ramon C. Yedra.

DA Secretary William Dar (rightmost) discusses the two new ACPC loan programs during the 67th ACPC Governing Council meeting. Also in the photo are (from right) Monetary Board Member V. Bruce J. Tolentino of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and Treasurer Rosalia V. De Leon of the Department of Finance.

Among the representatives of the ACPC Governing Council members who approved the two new lending programs in photo are (from left) Director Nieva T. Natural of National Economic and Development Authority, Director Cristina B. Clasara of the Department of Budget and Management and Treasurer Rosalia V. De Leon of the Department of Finance.

Treasurer Rosalia V. De Leon (leftmost) of the Department of Finance provides inputs during the discussion on the newly approved agri-fishery credit programs of DA-ACPC. Also in the photo are (from left) Monetary Board Member V. Bruce J. Tolentino of the BSP, Secretary William Dar of DA, and Executive Director Jocelyn Alma Badiola of ACPC.