By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet–Secretary Emannuel Pinol of the Department of Agriculture (DA) said giving easy access loans to farmers is better than subsidy.
Pinol said DA is now moving towards financing farmers through a loan program to address procurement irregularities on April 27 at the Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center (BAPTC). The secretary was at the BAPTC to talk to farmers regarding the programs of his agency.
Pinol said that fianancing is more sustainable than subsidy. “Hopefully by 2020 all production support will be financing already,” he said.
But Pinol said that financial literacy is crucial to the success of the program. He said farmers must learn to manage their finances well to be able to pay their loan and earn at the same time.
Pinol said that DA has been hounded with corruption issues involving procurement of farm inputs and equipment such as the “Fertilizer scam” and the “Napoles scam” in the past. He said that financing through loans will resolve procurement irregularities.
“The irregularities happen because DA procures the farm inputs and equipment, with financing DA will only release funds through loans and farmers will be the ones to buy what they need,” Pinol said.
Pinol said that farmers using the BAPTC were among the first beneficiaries of the DA’s easy access loan program. He said that P46M was released for the loan program that benefited 295 farmers at the BAPTC.
The secretary was impressed that BAPTC farmers were already able to pay their loans 100%. Because of this the secretary committed another P50M for the BAPTC loan program. He also promised to make funds available for truck and equipment loans. He also gave BAPTC one of the two buses donated by a bus company.
“Loyal farmers cooperatives that perform their counterpart should be rewarded,” Pinol said. # nordis.net