Wednesday August 15, 2018

P100M for habagat-hit Pangasinan, Ilocos farmers, fishers mulled

THE Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) is now evaluating a consortium's request for P100 million to help small farmers and fisherfolk (SFF) hit by last month's torrential monsoon rains in Pangasinan and Ilocos Sur.

"We're assessing Nueva Segovia Consortium of Cooperatives (NSCC) capacity to absorb such amount and performance in handling funds we previously downloaded to this group for SFFs there," ACPC senior project management officer Maripaz Faustorilla said in an interview on August 3.

Faustorilla is part of the ACPC team looking into agricultural funding needs of the agriculture sector arising from inclement weather.

She expects the evaluation's conclusion this month and if warranted, ACPC could already download the amount to NSCC, the agency's lending conduit in Pangasinan and Ilocos Sur.

The amount NSCC is requesting would be for either working capital or mechanization needs of SFF in both provinces, Faustorilla said.

NSCC could also lend the amount to the SFFs through the agriculture department's Production Loan Easy Access (Plea), she added.

The Plea is a special credit program for financing SFF's farm and fishery production activities, offering them non-collateralized loans of up to P50,000 per borrower at six-percent interest per year.

"Pangasinan and Ilocos Sur SFF seeking either working capital, mechanization financing, or Plea loans can submit to NSCC their respective applications," Faustorilla said.

In a situation report released on August 3, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said tropical cyclone-enhanced "habagat" or monsoon rains' damage to agriculture and fisheries in Pangasinan had reached about P1.02 billion.

The damage covered rice (P491.87 million), corn (P41.49 million), livestock (P5.57 million), high-value commercial crops (P30.24 million), and fisheries (P449.63 million).

Damage in Ilocos Sur covered livestock (P132,370) and fisheries (P50,000).

Last month, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol had committed over P180-million worth of assistance and intervention for rehabilitating damaged farms and fishery areas in Pangasinan.

The DA said Piñol had turned over 32,000 bags of certified and hybrid seeds and 100 bags of corn seeds. (PNA)