The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Agricultural Credit Policy Council (DA-ACPC), and BDO Foundation recently inked an agreement to develop a financial education program for around 4,000 small farmers, fisherfolk, and livestock raisers across the country, who are credit beneficiaries of the DA-ACPC.

The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was signed by BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno, Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary and DA-ACPC Governing Council Chair William D. Dar, BDO Foundation President Mario A. Deriquito, and BDO Foundation Trustee Lucy Co Dy.

“Filipino farmers and fishers remain among the poorest of the poor despite the abundance of agricultural and marine resources and their hard work and perseverance. The BSP and its partners will work together to empower our farmers, fishers, and livestock raisers to invest in a better financial and environmental future, by offering a solid financial literacy and education program,” said BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno.

The Governor also added that “improving financial literacy and capability in our agricultural and coastal communities contributes significantly to inclusive economic progress – fulfilling the government’s vision of a food-secure Philippines, with financially savvy and financially healthy farmers and fisherfolk.

Highlighting the importance of financial education in the agri-fishery sector, DA Secretary Dar said, “We want to break the cycle of poverty for these small farmers and fisherfolk. Under the new thinking and modernization initiatives in agriculture, we uplift and transform farmers and fisherfolk into agripreneurs with improved productivity and income. Thus, our agripreneurs need to be equipped with the right tools and attitudes when it comes to managing their finances.”

An attached agency of the DA mandated to oversee credit and rural finance policy, DA-ACPC helps the government develop and implement strategies and policies that increase and sustain the flow of credit to agriculture and fisheries, improve the viability of farmers and fisherfolk, and support agriculture modernization, food security and poverty alleviation.

“DA-ACPC is committed to include financial education in its capacity building programs for farmers, fisherfolk, and livestock raisers who are beneficiaries of its credit programs. Through this partnership, our borrowers will be able to make informed financial decisions,” DA-ACPC Executive Director Badiola added.

“Poverty alleviation through financial inclusion forms part of our key advocacies and contributions to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” BDO Foundation President Deriquito shared. “For giving us this opportunity to be of service to small farmers and fisherfolk, we are grateful to the BSP and DA-ACPC. It is our hope that our partnership program will pave the way for farmers, fisherfolk, livestock raisers and their families to achieve financial stability and empower them to gain access to financial services that can help improve their lives.”

The program is the latest in a series of collaborations among the BSP, BDO Foundation, and key government agencies designed to promote financial education and consumer protection, in line with the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion (NSFI). This initiative, intended to form part of the capacity building programs of DA-ACPC, aims to instill basic personal financial management skills, with emphasis on agripreneurship and maintaining a good credit standing among farmers, fisherfolk, livestock raisers, young agripreneurs, and repatriated overseas Filipino workers engaged in agribusiness, through engaging and effective financial literacy modules and tools.

Through the MOA, DA-ACPC will deploy the module to fishing and agricultural communities nationwide with the support of trainers from the DA Regional Agri Credit Desk Officers and Regional Loan Facilitation Teams.