In response to Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol’s directive to create Loan Facilitation Teams (LoFTs) in every province, various DA offices collaborated for the conduct of the Orientation Workshop on the DA’s Credit Programs and the Establishment of the LoFTs on July 3 to 6, 2018 at the Tagaytay International Convention Center in Tagaytay City.

Generally, the LoFTs are to guide farmers and fisherfolk in availing loans from DA’s credit programs. The LoFTs shall assist potential borrowers in complying loan documentary requirements including the crafting of project proposals/business plans/farm plan and budget and shall also answer queries and provide information on credit policies and programs.

“Let’s not make things difficult for our stakeholders,” the Secretary said noting that many of the farmers and fisherfolk have poor educational background. “If we can do this, things will change. Believe me,” added Sec. Piñol.

The three-day activity, organized by the Office of the Undersecretary for High Value Crops and Rural Credit (HVCRC), the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC), and the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund Project Management Secretariat (ACEF PMS), was attended by around 145 participants composed of Agri-Credit Desk Officers (ACDOs), ACEF Regional Coordinating Units (RCUs), DA officers and staff and other partner institutions.

The participants, who are expected to be part of and/or provide contribution to the LoFTs, were oriented on the current DA agri-fisheries financing programs such as the ACEF, the Production Loan Easy Access (PLEA), the Machinery Loan Easy Access (MLEA), the Capital Loan Easy Access and the Survival and Recovery Loan (SURE). They were also briefed on their roles in facilitating easy access to credit of small farmers and fisherfolk.

During the workshop portion, the participants were divided based on their major island classifications and were tasked to develop a work plan aimed at operationalizing the LoFTs.

Each cluster presented their work plan before the panelists who provided comments and suggestions to improve their outputs. The panelists were composed of Dir. Chris Morales of the DA- Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service (AMAS), Dep. Exec. Dir. Ramon Yedra and Dir. Alicia Ilaga of ACPC, Atty. Rani Supnet from the Office of Usec. Villano, Atty. Joycel Panlilio of the Office of Usec. Lavina, Mr. Vicente Rubin from the Office of Usec. Gabariel La Viña, Mr. Amado Ersando of ACEF and Mr. Mark Harris Jamilan of DA- Information and Communications Technology Service (ICTS).

After the presentation of outputs, Dir. Morales and Dep. Exec. Dir. Yedra facilitated the discussion on the composition of the regional and provincial LoFTs. The DA Secretary is expected to issue a Special Order to formalize the establishment and composition of the LoFTs.