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DA launches loan program for farmers

The Department of Agriculture has launched a loan program aimed at improving the production of farmers and fishermen.

Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said he has chosen the fishing town of Malimono in Surigao del Norte and the farming municipality of Bongabon in Nueva Ecija to be the pilot areas for the implementation of the Production Loan Easy Access program.

Piñol, in a Facebook post yesterday, said PLEA is “an innovative loaning program aimed at increasing the productivity of farmers and fishermen and lifting them out of poverty.”

He said it will be implemented by the Agriculture Credit Police Council, an agency which handles the loaning programs of the DA.

An initial loan amount of R15 million will be downloaded to a local credit cooperative in Malimono, a poor fishing community confronted with problems of insurgency due to the presence of New People’s Army rebels.

For Bongabon, a town which produces not only onion, rice, corn, and vegetables, the initial loan amount allotted was R20 million, Piñol said.

Before beneficiaries could loan, farmers and fishermen will be profiled and their areas properly marked through geo-tagging. They will later be given identification cards complete with their biometrics as well as passbooks.

Piñol said they will be allowed a maximum loan amount of R50,000 which will be granted depending on their commodities. (Vanne Elaine P. Terrazola)