Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary and ACPC Chair Emmanuel F. Pinol, together with Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) Executive Director Jocelyn Alma R. Badiola launched the Program for Unified Lending to Agriculture Special Lending Facility for Marginal Farmers and Fisherfolk (PUNLA) in Catarman, Northern Samar and in Borongan, Eastern Samar on September 8 and 9, 2016, respectively.

The launching of PUNLA coincided with the visit of Sec. Pinol in Catarman and Borongan where he turned-over agri-fishery projects including motorized fiberglass fishing boats and gears, farm machineries, equipment and other agricultural inputs. A dialogue session “Tapatan” with farmers, fisherfolk, local chief executives, agricultural extension workers and other stakeholders was conducted during the event.

The PUNLA is a credit facility under the Agro-Industry Modernization Credit and Financing Program (AMCFP). It aims to address the financial needs of marginal farmers and fisherfolk for fast, convenient and affordable credit to strengthen delivery of agricultural credit and increase outreach to more small farmers and fishers. The program is grounded on four (4) strategic pillars, namely: (i) Make credit access easy and convenient; (ii) Bring down interest rates; (iii) Expand credit delivery channels; and (iv) Ensure sustainability of credit.

Non-collateralized loans for agri-fishery production and agri-microfinance will be made available to the marginalized farmers and fishers in the 10 poorest provinces in the country. Borrowers may avail themselves of up to P150,000 loan at 6-percent interest rate with one-year maturity. Farmers’ Organizations (FOs), cooperatives and non-government organizations (NGOs) will be tapped as lending conduits in the delivery of credit to intended beneficiaries of the program. Such lending conduits shall be supported and capacitated thru an Institutional Capacity Building (ICB) component to enable them to effectively implement the PUNLA credit system.

The initial amount of P200 million is allocated for the implementation of PUNLA in the 10 poorest provinces. The ACPC has created an ACPC Task Force for the PUNLA Program headed by ACPC Deputy Executive Director Ramon C. Yedra and composed of the designated provincial focal persons as follows:

  1. Apayao – Adoracion G. Garcia
  2. Eastern Samar – Rudyard R. Roxas
  3. Western Samar – Bieth D. Gerardo
  4. Northern Samar – Rufino T. Estrada, Jr
  5. Negros Oriental – Noel Clarence M. Ducusin
  6. Zamboanga del Norte – Alvin U. Cabato
  7. Lanao del Sur – Dina T. Mejias
  8. Cotabato –Joel Q. Matira
  9. Sarangani – Charleston M. Dulay
  10. Maguindano – Ronnie B. Tabucanon

The ACPC PUNLA Provincial Focal Persons are responsible in facilitating program implementation. The shall prepare the work plan and implementation targets for PUNLA in their respective assignments; coordinate with the DA-RFOs and provincial and municipal LGUs on the activities for the implementation of PUNLA and identify potential lending conduits , validate eligibility of interested applicants , assist eligible interested conduits in credit project proposal preparation, evaluate their capacity and funding requirements to implement proposed credit project and make recommendations for the purpose.

Other areas may be included as may be deemed critical for development intervention by the Department of Agriculture (DA).