BAGUIO CITY – Women farmers in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) can now further rehabilitate and boost their agri-fishery livelihoods through the provision of financial assistance for women in agriculture, known as the Agri-Pinay Loan under the AgriNegosyo Loan Program of the Department of Agriculture (DA).
Last August 10, 2023, a total of 59 small women farmer-borrowers from Mountain Province and Benguet received their loans totaling PhP4 Million. Said loan is primarily to support the high-value production activities of the farmer-borrowers. The loan release activity was conducted at the Saint Paul’s Parish Church in Otucan Sur, Bauko, Mountain Province by the DA-Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) and the Saint Paul’s Multipurpose Cooperative which is one of the agency’s partner lending conduits for Mountain Province.
Of the 59 farmers, 57 are from Bauko, Mountain Province, one (1) from Sabangan, Mountain Province, and one (1) from Bakun, Benguet. The agri-pinay borrowers are mostly into the production of high value crops like cabbage, chayote, bell pepper, sweet peas, potato, tomato, and lettuce. The others are focused into livestock and poultry production as their main sources of income. The amount of loan per borrower which ranges from PhP50,000 to PhP100,000 is dependent on their approved application and livelihood to be supported.
DA-CAR OIC-Regional Technical Director for Research and Regulations Dr. Arlene M. Sagayo congratulated the farmer-borrowers and encouraged them to utilize the loan purposely for the continual improvement of their livelihoods. She also shared the parable of talents noting that while the farmer-borrowers have received varying loan amounts, they should always be accountable for what they borrowed. Accordingly, one factor in successful farming is to do farm recording. She assured that the DA-CAR is always available to provide technical assistance.
The Agri-Pinay Program, which was launched in late 2020, is essentially to address the loss of income of vulnerable sectors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to amplify gender equality in agribusiness, and to promote empowerment of women in the agri-fishery sector. Moreover, the program is part of the DA-ACPC’s gender and development mainstreaming efforts as well as to improve women’s access to rural credit, thus, ensuring their inclusion in the agri-fishery value chain to better rehabilitate their livelihood during the pandemic.
Moreover, according to Mr. Marcial Lloyd Bayangan, DA-ACPC Focal Person for Benguet, under the Agri-Pinay Program, the loan-borrower may avail of up to Php100,000 loan with no interest, no collateral, and payable up to five (5) years, to finance their capital needs for their start-up or existing agri-fishery-based income-generating activities. The eligible women beneficiaries are identified and endorsed by the DA Regional Gender and Development Focal Point Officer, with priority given to women from the farming/fishing households who belong to the indigenous groups.
It was recalled that in April 2023, another loan release under the Agri-Pinay Loan was conducted with 126 women farmers from Buguias, Kabayan, and Mankayan in the province of Benguet. The release was conducted with the Lengaoan Multi-purpose Cooperative, the DA-ACPC’s partner lending conduit in the province.
Aside from the Agri-Pinay farmer-borrowers, there were also 30 small farmers and fisherfolk (SFF) borrowers in Bauko, Mountain Province who received their loans under the AgriNegosyo Loan Program. With a total loan amount of PhP2, 530,000, the loan amounts are intended to support their high-value crop and livestock production activities.
The Agri-Pinay Loan Release was participated in by key representatives from the DA-ACPC, DA-RFO CAR, the concerned local government units, and the partner lending conduits.
A partners’ meeting presided over by Mr. Celedonio P. Pereyra, DA-ACPC PDD Chief for Luzon Cluster DA-ACPC followed after the loan release. Salient matters were discussed, particularly in the implementation of the survival and recovery (SURE) loan program considering that some of the region’s provinces which include Mountain Province is placed under a state of calamity due to the devastating effects of the super typhoon “Egay’ that wreaked havoc in the Northern part of the country late July of this year. The different partner lending conduits have committed approximate amounts for them to manage as financial administrators for the implementation of the SURE loan program subject to further discussion and finalization with the DA-ACPC. By JBAgrifino with reports from Ana Marconi