The Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) released a total of P741.96 million in loans under the Production Loan Easy Access (PLEA) and Survival and Recovery (SURE) Assistance Programs by the end of the third quarter 2017.

Under the PLEA, a total of P675 million were released to 25,256 small farmers and fisherfolk (SFF) through 84 lending conduits.  The program covers a total of 49 areas identified by the DA based on poverty incidence and concentration of marginal farmers and fishers unserved by banks.

The PLEA program provides non-collateralized loans to marginalized and small farmers and fishers. The loans are coursed through grassroot-based organizations for easier credit access. These include cooperatives, coopbanks, farmer associations, people’s organizations, and other institutions that have been evaluated as qualified lending conduits based on program policies and implementing guidelines.

The maximum loanable amount a farmer or fisherfolk can borrow under the PLEA Program is P50,000, depending on the type of agri-fishery commodity. The loan is payable from two to 10 years with an interest rate of 6% per annum or 0.5% per month (i.e., P3,000/year or P250/month for a P50,000 loan). Commodities financed under the PLEA are also covered with crop insurance by the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC).

PLEA is being implemented in the following areas: Apayao, Benguet and Kalinga in Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR); Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan in Region I; Isabela in Region II; Bongabon, Nueva Ecija and Bataan in Region III; Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, and Quezon in  CALABARZON; Oriental and Occidental Mindoro,  Romblon and Palawan in MIMAROPA; Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Aklan and Antique in Region VI; Bohol, Cebu, Negros Oriental and Siquijor in Region VII; Eastern Samar, Northern Samar and Western Samar in Region VIII; Zamboanga del Norte in Region IX; Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte and Misamis Occidental in Region X; Davao in Region XI; Cotabato, Sarangani, South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat, in Region XII; Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, in Region XIII; Basilan, Tawi-tawi,  Lanao del Sur, Sulu and Maguindanao in ARMM.

To ensure an effective and sustainable delivery of credit to intended borrowers, the program also provides institutional and capacity building (ICB) support to lending conduits. Through the ICB component of the program, support training such as Credit Project Planning Workshop and Credit Worthiness Seminar are conducted.  During the Credit Project Planning Workshop, lending policies and procedures to be adopted by the lending conduit in the implementation of the program are formulated. Credit Worthiness Seminar, on the other hand, orients prospective borrowers on the guidelines and processes involved to avail of the loan program, and enhance their capabilities in managing effectively such as using loans as indicated in their farm plan and budget.

On the other hand, SURE has released loans of P66.96 million to 4,129 calamity affected SFFs through 11 lending conduits serving areas which have been declared under a state of calamity by the concerned local government units.  These areas have also been validated by the DA and/or by the local office of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) to have sustained considerable damage to agriculture due to natural calamities.

The SURE Assistance Program is a quick-response, post-disaster support facility for calamity affected small farmers and fisherfolk and their households. It provides emergency loan (P5000) and rehabilitation loan (P20,000) at zero interest. Emergency loans are released within three days and recovery loans within 30 days payable up to three years through farmers organizations or cooperatives. One-year moratorium is provided for loan payment for existing borrowers who have outstanding loans under other ACPC programs.

The areas which have been declared under state of calamity are the following: Camarines Sur and Catanduanes, affected by Typhoon Nina in January 2017; Agusan del Sur and Norte, affected by Tropical Depression Auring in January 2017; Carmen and Danao, Cebu, affected by Tropical Depression Crising; Marawi City due to the Marawi Crisis in May 2017; San Luis, Pampanga and San Isidro and Jaen, Nueva Ecija which were hit by Avian Influenza in August 2017.

Farmer-Beneficiaries from War-Torn Marawi City expressed their gratitude to DA Secretary Manny Piñol and the ACPC during the loan release under the SURE Assistance Program on November 20-23, 2017 in Iligan City