P3 billion funding for agricultural innovations set

P3 billion funding for agricultural innovations set

Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - February 23, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture has earmarked an initial P3 billion to help accelerate modernization and industrialization of the local farm sector.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the amount would go to various innovative agri-fishery projects and agribusiness incubation enterprises for millennials, hobbyists, farmers’ cooperatives and associations and agripreneurs.

“The DA is focusing its efforts in empowering farmers’ cooperatives and associations and young agri-entrepreneurs by providing them not only appropriate innovative technologies, but also needed financial support by way of start-up capital, a fund for project expansion, mentoring or hiring of professional managers,” Dar said.

Of the total, P1 billion has been set aside for the Kapital Access for Young Agripreneurs loan program to attract young Filipinos aged 18 to 30 years old to engage in any agri-fishery project, where they can borrow start-up capital of up to P500,000, payable in five years with zero interest.

For micro, small and medium enterprises, the DA also allotted P1 billion for the Agri-Negosyo loan program to enable MSMEs to scale up their current businesses. They can borrow up to P15 million, payable in five years, with zero interest.

Another P500 million has been earmarked for the Agricultural Technology Business Incubation program that will provide grants to Filipino millennials and agripreneurs to translate their innovative ideas into farm and fishery products.

The DA has also set aside another P500 million for the inclusive agribusiness program aimed at capacitating and empowering FCAs, where they can avail of a grant for institution-building and hire professional managers who will help them run their enterprise.

“We will engage the state universities and colleges, government agencies, and business development services to mentor the beneficiaries of these programs,” Dar said.

Dar said the agency would implement a management internship program, where it will hire top graduates from SUCs and private academic institutions to work at any of the DA agencies to help attract more Filipino youngsters to engage in the farm sector.

The DA’s Agricultural Training Institute is already establishing a Young Farmers’ Academy that integrates under one roof all their programs and initiatives for the youth.

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