Villar: P2.1 billion loans available yearly for farmers, fishers
“Access to cheap or subsidized credit is among the top requirements of Filipino farmers and fisher folks in order to be more profitable and competitive,” said Sen. Cynthia Villar, who authored and pushed for the three laws.
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Villar: P2.1 billion loans available yearly for farmers, fishers
Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - October 16, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — About P2.1 billion in loanable funds are available every year to farmers and fisherfolk through legislated cheap or subsidized credit, Sen. Cynthia Villar said yesterday.

These are offered through Republic Act 11203 (Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund or RCEF of 2019), RA 10848 (Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund or ACEF of 2016) and RA 10659 (Sugarcane Industry Development Act or SIDA of 2015).

“Access to cheap or subsidized credit is among the top requirements of Filipino farmers and fisher folks in order to be more profitable and competitive,” said Villar, who authored and pushed for the three laws.

“Ever since, I have been focused on removing the barriers that keep farmers and fisher folks from being more profitable. Among which are access to affordable credit and I am glad that the laws I have authored and sponsored are serving their purposes,” she added.

Yesterday, the chairperson of the Senate committee on agriculture and food expressed satisfaction that the bills she authored are providing much-need credit assistance on top of free inbred seeds, machineries/equipment, scholarships, livelihood assistance and training to farmers, fisherfolk and small cooperatives.

Citing a recent report by the Land Bank of the Philippines – which has been designated in the laws to manage the funds – Villar said that as of August 2020, outstanding loans to the agriculture sector reached P224.66 billion.

This includes P20.86 billion loaned to cooperatives and farmers associations under the ACEF and the Expanded Rice Credit Assistance of the RCEF and the Socialized Credit Program of the SIDA.

The RCEF also allocated P1 billion in credit to boost farmers’ productivity. ACEF earmarks P800 million or more depending on collections. The SCP-SIDA is funded by 15 percent or about P300 million of the annual P2-billion fund allocated for the development of the country’s sugar industry.

“We are thankful to Landbank for doing its job in boosting the agricultural productivity in the country. We hope that they will be even more proactive in making the available funds more accessible to the intended beneficiaries. Previously, there were some delays on their part. We should avoid that especially during the pandemic when funds are urgently needed,” Villar said.

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