EPIFANIO Sanjorjo failed to plant more corn in his farm in Barangay Campo, San Francisco in the past month.
He failed to find a person who would buy in bulk the more than 5,000 kilos of corn grits he harvested last October.
Last Nov. 29, Sanjorjo heaved a sigh of relief after he was among the 84 farmers and fishermen in Camotes Island who availed themselves of loans under the Production Loan Easy Access (Plea), a program of the Department of Agriculture (DA).
DA’s partner, the Cebu People’s Multipurpose Cooperative (CPMC), launched Plea during the Agro-Trade Fair and Farmers’ and Fishermen’s Day in Tudela.
The CPMC will submit the loan applications to the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC), which then releases the approved loans through the cooperative
CPMC area manager Nelson Lim said 17 of the borrowers are from San Francisco; 11 from Poro; and 56 from Tudela. Plea was first launched in the southern town of Dalaguete town early this year.
As of Oct. 20, 485 farmers and fishermen have availed themselves of Plea in Cebu. The ACPC released P9.4 million to 240 borrowers in Dalaguete; P7.4 million to 175 borrowers in Cebu City; and P3 million to 70 borrowers in Alcoy.
The prospective borrower should be listed in the Registry System for Basic Sectors Agriculture to be granted a loan ranging from P50,000 (for short-term crops or commodities) to P150,000 (for high-value crops). No collateral will be asked.
Cresencio Deligero Jr., Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. regional manager, said farmers and fishermen, including their crops, livestock and fishing boats, are also insured under the loan program.
Macario Quevedo, CMPC chief executive officer, said the interest rate is only .5 percent per month, or six percent per year.
“Gusto sa gobiyerno nga dili lang mo kutob sa pagka mag-uuma o farming ug fishing kon dili mahimo usab mo nga mga negosyante (The government also wants farmers and fishermen to become businessmen),” he said. (KAL)