Ivy Acebedo is one of the repatriated OFWs who lost her job and went back to the Philippines in 2020. She was an operations executive in a trading and construction company for more than four years in Qatar.
As an OFW, Ivy narrated that being homesick is the most challenging part while she was still working in Qatar. “Mahirap ang malayo sa pamilya, lalo na pag nagkasakit ka o yung pamilya mo. Dapat independent and strong ka pag nasa ibang bansa”, she said.
While in Qatar, Ivy planned to invest in agriculture but then she wasn’t sure whether in a banana plantation or piggery project. When she went home to Agusan del Sur, she decide on investing in a banana plantation. She said she has a background in agriculture since her father and grandparents have a farm and were into agribusiness trading.
Ms. Acebedo learned the Agri-Negosyo – Overseas Filipino Workers (ANYO-OFW) Facility when she went to Department of Agriculture (DA) in their municipality. She was inquiring about lakatan seedlings when one of the staff informed her about the program and encouraged her to inquire on the said program since she is a repatriated OFW. She was linked to the DA – Regional Field Office (DA-RFO) which helped her process her loan immediately.
The ANYO Loan Program of the DA – Agricultural Credit Policy Council (DA-ACPC) offers loans for individual small farmers and fisherfolk (SFF), SFF organizations & associations/cooperatives, and agri-fishery micro and small enterprises (MSEs), including sole proprietors, partnerships, and corporations. This program is also open to repatriated and former OFWs for their agri/fishery/livestock livelihood startup businesses. Eligible borrowers may avail themselves of up to P 300,000.00 loans with zero-interest and payment terms of up to five years.
Through Producers Savings Bank Corporation, partner lending conduit of the DA-ACPC, Ivy Acebedo was able to avail P300,000.00 loan under ANYO-OFW loan program for her start up organic banana farming business.
She advises everyone who wants to start an agribusiness and those repatriated OFWs to start as earlier as they can. “It’s never too late to start, don’t mind if you are still young or are already aged. If that is your passion, you have to pursue it. Andyan ang gobyernong handang tumulong, huwag mawalan ng pag-asa. May pandemic man, maabot nyo pa din ang mga gusto ninyong business. Laban lang!”