The Agro-Industry Modernization Credit and Financing Program (AMCFP) released 26.5% more loans in 2014 compared to 2013. The AMCFP released loans amounting to P1.44 billion over the period January to December 2014. Loans released by the program in 2013 amounted to P1.14 billion. The number of beneficiaries per year also increased by 56.5% with 36,016 borrowers in 2014 compared to 22,888 beneficiaries in 2013.

The AMCFP is the umbrella financing program of the Department of Agriculture (DA). Its implementation is overseen by the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC). Among the agri-fishery financing programs funded through the AMCFP are the Cooperative Banks Agri-Lending Program (CBAP), the Agri-Microfinance Program (AMP), the Sikat Saka Program, the Typhoon Pablo Special Credit Facility, the Agricultural Fisheries Financing Program (AFFP), and the Calamity Assistance Program.

Among the AMCFP programs, the Cooperative Banks Agri-Lending Program (CBAP) released the biggest amount of loans in 2014, with a total of P640.1 million (44.3% of the total loans released). This amount was able to finance the agri-fishery projects of 17,949 farmers and fisherfolk (49.8% of the total borrowers). The CBAPis a program that provides funding support to eligible cooperative banks in the form of special time deposits (STD). The program was implemented since September 2011. CBAP funds are used by participating cooperative banks to expand their small farm and fishing loan portfolio. CBAP loans for agricultural production or microfinance bear interest rates that do not exceed 15% per annum.

Second is the Sikat Saka Program jointly implemented by the DA and the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP). The Sikat Saka released P543.2 million loans (37.6% of the total loans released) to 2,519 rice farmers (7.0% of the total borrowers) in 2014. Launched in January 2012 in the interest of attaining self-sufficiency in rice, the Sikat-Saka provides small farmers direct access to credit through their respective irrigator’s associations (IAs) to be used for palay production. Under this scheme, farmers are provided a lower interest rate of 15% per annum for the first two cycles. Then, for succeeding cycles, the rate goes down by 1% per cycle. The reduced interest rates are applied to those who fully pay their production loan on time. To familiarize farmers in the use of ‘modern’ banking technology, loans are being released though automated teller machines (ATMs).

Under the Agricultural Fisheries Financing Program (AFFP), P74.0 million in loans (5.1% of the total loans) was released to 3,378 borrowers (9.4% of the total borrowers) during its first year of implementation. The AFFP is one of the initiatives of the DA to help promote inclusive growth by providing financing assistance for small farmers and fisherfolk registered in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) of the program’s 41 priority poorest provinces. The program is being implemented through the Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) and the People’s Credit and Finance Corporation (PCFC). The Agri-Microfinance Program (AMP), on the other hand, was able to release P92.9 million (6.4% of the total loans released) to 8,038 farmers and fisherfolk or 22.3% of the total borrowers in 2014. The AMP is a joint program of the DA-ACPC with the People’s Credit and Finance Corporation (PCFC). Through the AMP, accredited microfinance institutions (MFIs) of the PCFC provide agri-micro loans to individual borrowers coming from small farm and/or fishing households. The program also gives priority to areas hit by natural calamities.

DA-ACPC Calamity Assistance Program, on the other hand, released P95.8 million in loans (6.6% of the total releases) to 4,132 beneficiaries (11.5% of the total borrowers). This incorporates the accomplishments under the earlier initiatives for typhoons Pablo and Yolanda, the Special Agricultural Financing for Farmers and Fisherfolk Affected by Typhoon Pablo and the Rehabilitation Program Agricultural/Fishery Households Affected by Typhoon Yolanda.

In 2013, the President directed all departments and other concerned government agencies to implement and execute rescue, recovery, relief and rehabilitation work in accordance with pertinent operational plans. Under Memorandum Circular No. 59 dated 26 November 2013, the President further directs all government owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs), which include government financial institutions (GFIs), to grant loan moratorium on the payment of outstanding loans and expedite the extension of and provide the necessary assistance relative to documentary submissions for interest-free loans to individuals and entities affected by the calamity. In response to the President’s directives and to complement the DA’s initiatives in providing rehabilitation support in typhoon affected areas, the ACPC implemented a rehabilitation support program that offers a one (1) year moratorium on payment of outstanding loans and provision of new loans with flexible requirements, terms and conditions to finance production and other livelihood activities of agricultural households affected by typhoons. The main objective of the rehabilitation program is to support the DA’s ‘early recovery program’ by providing financing assistance that will help agricultural households in affected areas regain their capacity to earn a living.

From the time it was first implemented in 2003, the AMCFP has already cumulatively generated P6.99 billion loans for 216,222 farmer and fisherfolk borrowers as of December 31, 2014. The 26.5% increase in loan releases in 2014 is attributable mainly to the expanding implementation of the Sikat Saka Program. From P307.3 million loans released in 2013, P543.2 million loans was released through the Sikat Saka Program in 2014 or an increase of 76.8%. The implementation of new programs, the AFFP and the DA-ACPC Calamity Assistance Program also contributed to the increase in loan releases for the year.