THE percentage of repayment among farmer-beneficiaries of the Production Loan Easy Access (Plea) program in Negros Occidental is high, an official of the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) in Western Visayas said.
Jane Aplaon, focal person for the Plea program in Negros Occidental, said that two existing conduits in the province reported a repayment rate of 90 percent.
These conduits are Negros Cooperative Bank and Pag-Inupdanay Inc.
Aplaon said these financial institutions cover about 1,500 recipient-farmers along with La Castellana One Personnel Multipurpose Cooperative.
“The high repayment rate would mean that the credit program impacts positively the farmers as they are capable of paying even ahead of their payment schedules,” she added.
Plea is a special credit facility designed to address the financial needs of marginal and small farmers and fisherfolk for a fast, convenient and affordable credit.
Under the program, non-collateralized loans for agri-fishery production will be provided through cooperative banks, cooperatives and non-government organizations as credit delivery channels.
The loan of P50,000 per individual farmer is payable within two to 10 years with an interest rate of six percent per annum.
“Given such low interest rate, the farmers said it is easy for them to pay. The program has saved them from the burden of incurring other loans with higher interest rates,” Aplaon said.
The Plea program was implemented in the province in 2017 with Cauayan, Hinoba-an, Ilog, Candoni, Kabankalan City and Sipalay City (Chicks) as pilot areas.
In terms of exposure, the recipient-farmers have already availed themselves of loan amounting to P53 million since 2017.
Aside from rice and sugarcane farmers in Negros Occidental, the program has also been benefiting those into fisheries, and pineapple and ginger production.
The first two conduits, the Negros Cooperative Bank and Pag-Inupdanay Inc., have fully disbursed P20 million worth of credit each since 2017.
La Castellana One Personnel Multipurpose Cooperative, which started only in November last year, has disbursed P12 million out of the P30 million downloaded fund of the ACPC.
Aplaon said the nationwide budget for Plea program increased to about P3.5 billion this year. Thus, they are encouraging more potential conduits in the province.
She said they are now validating a potential conduit in Escalante City, which will cover farmers in the northern part of the province.
“There are still many farmers in the province who need to be covered. The fund for Plea program is just there, we just need more conduits for it to be utilized,” Aplaon said.
Potential conduits are those established cooperatives with small past due. They also need to have knowledge in lending, she added.