The Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Credit Policy Council (DA-ACPC) and Jollibee Group Foundation (JGF) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate in the promotion of access to agri value chain financing. The partnership will provide credit and capacity building assistance to small farmers who will potentially serve as suppliers to the Jollibee Group and other institutional buyers.
The collaboration also aims to engage JGF’s partner-farmer cooperatives in its Farmer Entrepreneurship Program to become DA-ACPC’s partner lending conduits in the implementation of its various zero-interest and no collateral credit programs.
DA Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban joined the ceremony and affirmed the project’s relevance. “This project, together with all the projects being implemented by the Department of Agriculture, will be very important to the priority of the President on food security,” said Senior Usec Panganiban.
“We are honored to collaborate with JGF, that will allow our farmers to have more opportunities especially in terms of having access to stable markets, capacity building, and financing,” said DA-ACPC Executive Director Jocelyn Alma R. Badiola.
“Our collaboration will be rooted in the agri value chain financing approach to make material, technical, and financial resources available to farmers, to reduce the risk and cost of financing and increase the efficiency of the value chain as a whole,” she added.
JGF Executive Director Gisela Tiongson recognized the holistic approach needed in assisting smallholder farmers. “Providing farmers the access to an institutional market is important, but so are other elements such as extension services that organize the farmers into production clusters, technology to ensure crops meet the quality requirements of the company, and financing that would provide not only the farmer but also their cooperatives the needed working capital, from production to postharvest to marketing… ACPC’s financing resources and know-how would further boost the flow of capital to make farming a sustainable enterprise,” she remarked.
Aside from credit and training, other components of the partnership include the endorsement of existing ACPC partner lending conduits to undergo JGF’s Online Agro-Enterpreneurship Training.
Meanwhile, other officials from Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and JGF were also in attendance to witness the MOU signing.
“A major program of the BSP is to promote agricultural value chain financing,” Monetary Board Member and ACPC Vice Chair Bruce Tolentino said. “The example that you are doing today, JGF and DA-ACPC, is to show that the agribusiness value chain can work and that it is financeable under normal circumstances from the banks’ own resources.”
“How do you make farmers an excellent credit risk? It is to train them to be good business managers—and that’s why JGF’s program is called the Farmer Entrepreneurship Program,” said JGF Trustee Ysmael Baysa.
The collaboration between DA-ACPC and JGF allows farmers to take their livelihood further. “It’s a good model of how government and private sector can work together in trying to have more access to credit for our farmers, as well as helping them uplift the quality of their lives,” said JGF Trustee Senen Bacani.
The ACPC is the DA’s credit policy arm, mandated to design and oversee innovative financing schemes for small farmers and fisherfolk, farmers’ and fishers’ organizations (FFOs), and micro and small enterprises (MSEs). On the other hand, the JGF is Jollibee Group’s social responsibility arm implementing the Farmer Entrepreneurship Program, which helps smallholder farmers improve their livelihood and increase their income by. sharpening farmers’ technical skills and business acumen, and links them with institutional markets for increased and steady income.