Loans at lower interest rates to farmers and fisherfolk

The Department of Agriculture (DA) here has offered loans at lower interest rates to farmers and fisherfolk in two provinces in the Davao Region hardly-hit by typhoon Pablo on December 4, 2012.

DA regional technical coordinator Bernadette F. San Juan during the briefing on Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) held recently at the provincial capitol here, said DA-ACPC’s Special Agricultural Financing Facility for Farmers and Fishers through its partner financing institutions – the Cooperative Bank of Misamis Oriental and the Cooperative Bank of Agusan del Sur – has offered loans of up to P150,000 with an interest rate of eight percent plus four percent service fee, payable either monthly, quarterly, upon harvest, or in lump sum, but not to exceed one year

She said this special agricultural financing facility for the purposes of agricultural production or micro-financing, is open to borrowers with the following qualifications: farmers who own farms with the size of not more than seven hectares; farm workers; fisherfolk owning fishing vessels of not more than three tons in weight; or those who own fishponds of not more than five hectares, or fish cages of not more than 400 square meters; and has no current loan with the Land Bank of the Philippines, among others.

San Juan said farmers and fishers in the typhoon-ravaged areas badly need start-up capital for their farm and fish projects. But these people are more comfortable with using bolos, plows and fish nets but feel uncomfortable using pens and doing business with the banks.

"Thus, they are easy preys to loan sharks," San Juan said.

She said the national government and the local government units must work hand in hand in helping these farmers and fishers so that they could avail of this special low-interest rate financing, with the least hassle.

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