LUCENA CITY, July 5 (PIA)--The Department of Agriculture (DA) urges repatriated overseas Filipino workers to engage in agrifishery enterprises.
Through the Agriculture and Credit Policy Council (ACPC), the DA offers three loan programs in May 2020 with a budget allocation of Php2.5 billion to create more livelihood and employment opportunities in the countryside.
To date, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported more than 50,000 Filipino migrant workers have repatriated to the country due to global pandemic.
"DA is opening doors to returning OFWs to join the ranks of the new breed of agripreneurs who will revive and reboot the countryside and at the same time support Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) program," said Agriculture Secretary William Dar.
Among the loan programs being offered by the DA-ACPC are the Expanded SURE-Aid Recovery Project or SURE COVID 19, Kapital Access for Young Agripreneurs (KAYA) and Agri-Negosyo (ANYO).
Under the SURE COVID 19 program, MSEs may avail up to 10 million as working capital at zero interest and payable in five years. They may engage in agri-fishery production, delivery of produce or commodities, and other activities in the supply chain whose operations were affected by the expanded community quarantine.
Among the beneficiaries of the SURE Program were the 200 BARMM farmers and fishers in Wao, Lanao del Sur.
Through the DA-ACPC partner lending conduit, Philippine International Travel Assistance Center Multi-Purpose Cooperative (PITAC MPC) Bukidnon Branch, the department disbursed a total of P5 million credit funds. Each received P25,000 loan with zero interest, no collateral and payable in 10 years.
Meanwhile, young Filipino entrepreneurs or agri-fishery graduates (aged 18-30) can avail of the KAYA Program where they can borrow up to Php500,000 with zero interest, and payable in five years as a start up or to any existing agri-based projects.
Another loan program, the Agri-Negosyo (ANYO) Program will finance agri-ventures, working capital or fixed asset acquisition by individuals, sole proprietors, partnerships, corporations, and cooperatives, whose members are marginal small farmers and fisherfolk. They can avail of P300,000 up to P15 million, zero interest, payable up to five years.
All of these loans are channeled through government and non-government financial institutions.
Secretary Dar added that the loan programs include free technical training from Agricultural Training Institute (ATI).
Further, it will also provide the OFWs capacity-building and skills training on social preparation and values formation, production technologies, farm business school, and establishment of agri-learning sites, among others.
"Now is the time for the OFW sector to start to reintegrate themselves back to their homes, communities and provinces," Secretary Dar said. (CPC/PIA-IDPD)