Loans released to small farmers and fishermen by the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) grew by an average of 30.5 percent annually from 2010 to 2014, according to the latest data from the ACPC.
Data from the ACPC showed that the agency released P2.03 billion in agri-fishery loans in 2014, 58 percent higher than the amount released in 2010 at P1.29 billion.
Agri-fishery loans to small farmers and fishermen in 2011 reached P531.3 million; P1.08 billion,
2012; and P1.26 billion in 2013.
The number of small farmers and fishermen who benefited from the ACPC’s loans also rose by nearly 26 percent to 43,031 in 2014, from 34,209 in 2010.
“Over the period of 2010 to 2014, the number of borrowers increased by an average of 9 percent annually,” the attached agency of the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.
The ACPC said this was made possible by the Aquino administration’s allocation of funds for small farmers and fishermen credit.
According to the agency, the government should have appropriated P2 billion for the Agro-Industry Modernization Credit and Financing Program (AMCFP) in the first year of the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act’s (Afma) implementation in 1997.
“Subsequent supplemental funding for the AMCFP should have been P1.7 billion per year over the succeeding six years after. Had this been followed, it should have resulted in P12.2 billion in total government funding for agri-fishery credit by the time the implementation of Afma was terminated in 2004,” ACPC said.
“Yet, it was only during the administration of President
Aquino—16 years after the enactment of Afma—that the government finally allocated a budget for small farmers and fishermen
credit,” it added.
The agency said P1 billion was appropriated by the government to the ACPC in 2013, followed by an additional P2 billion in 2015 for the implementation of the Agricultural Fisheries Financing Program (AFFP).
The AFFP is being implemented nationwide by the DA, through the ACPC, for the benefit of small farmers and fishermen who are registered in the Registry System of Basic Sectors in Agriculture. It now constitutes a part of the AMCFP, the agency said.
The ACPC said the AFFP and other programs under the AMCFP, such as the Cooperative Banks Agricultural Lending Program, Agricultural Microfinance Program, and the Sikat Saka Program, made formal loans more accessible to small farmers and fishermen.
Aside from these programs, the ACPC said it has also launched a Calamity Assistance Program for small farmers and fishermen
“Over the period of 2013 to 2014, the total loan releases under the program has reached P123.81 million, providing loan relief and assistance to 4,754 farmers and fishermen borrowers in areas affected by typhoons and other natural calamities,” the ACPC said.