The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Monday said it has launched a P400-million loan program in its bid to mechanize the farm sector by providing affordable credit to farmers in the country.
“The DA, through the Agricultural Credit Policy Council [ACPC], has opened a new loaning window, which offers funds so farmers’ cooperatives and associations could buy the equipment and machineries they need,” Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said in his Facebook page published on February 19.
“The Farm Equipment and Machineries Loaning Program, which was approved by the ACPC Executive Board last week, offers an initial P400-million fund, which could be accessed by the farmers with a 6-percent interest every year payable in eight years,” Piñol added.
The ACPC governing council, which is chaired by Piñol, is comprised of the heads of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Department of Finance, Department of Budget and Management, and the National Economic and Development Authority.
Piñol said the new loaning program is part of the DA’s effort to “improve the implementation of the farm-mechanization program of the country.” The DA procures farm equipment and machineries, which are being distributed to farmers’ groups.
However, the agriculture chief pointed out that, in the previous administration, farmers’ groups were required to put up a 10-percent equity before they could get tractors, planters and harvesters.
“This prevented many farmers from acquiring machineries and equipment that they needed to lower the post harvest losses, which, according to the data, amount to 16 percent of the harvest,” Piñol said.
“When I assumed office as secretary, I found farm machineries and equipment amounting to billions of pesos, which were not distributed.”
President Duterte instructed Piñol to distribute the farm machinery and equipment. Furthermore, Duterte issued the directive that farmers should not be required to put up counterpart funding before receiving their desired farm equipment, according to Piñol.
Piñol said the “reformed” farm-mechanization program of the DA, which now offers loans instead of grants, is expected to improve the country’s farm-mechanization level.
“Allow the farmers to choose their own brand and own as many equipment and machineries as they need to serve their members or their communities,” he stressed. “Fast-track the implementation of the farm- mechanization program to effectively make farming more efficient and prevent postharvest losses.”
Piñol added the reforms would also put an end to “torturous” government bidding process, wherein farm machinery and equipment are bought based on the least expensive instead of the farmers’ choice. This type of bidding process, Piñol noted, resulted in the acquisition of “poor quality” machinery and equipment.
“The Farm Machineries and Equipment Loaning Program will mark the start of a new approach in extending support to Filipino farmers, which will be done through a sustainable loaning program,” he said. “This time, farmers will no longer complain that they were neglected and deprived of farm machinery by government,” he added.
may i ask if how to avail this DA farm mechanization loan program? thank you and more power.