DA proposes funding program for agriculture infra

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) is proposing a Bond Floatation Program to finance a 13,000-kilometer Farm to Market Road Construction Project and farm and fisheries mechanization.

Manny Piñol, in a statement posted on his Facebook page, said this proposal aims to promote efficiency and greater productivity, including reduction of post-harvest losses.

"In the proposal...it is recommended that the government will float bonds to be sold to private and commercial banks to finance the construction and completion of an estimated 13,000 kilometers of critical farm to market roads which would connect food and agricultural production areas to the national highways and later railway loading depots en route to the market," he said.

Piñol added that about P140 billion is needed over the next four years to finance the massive farm to market road network construction.

"This will not only promote greater productivity and lower the cost of food commodities in the market but also create employment in the countryside where the poverty incidence is considerably high," he said.

Piñol said another P60 billion in bonds will be floated to finance the mechanization program, which will involve the acquisition of farm machinery and equipment, including post-harvest facilities in agriculture and fisheries.

"Under the Mechanization Program, proceeds from the Bond Floatation will be used in a mechanization loaning program to farmers and fishermen's associations to be managed by the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) of the Agriculture Department," he said.

Piñol said the proposal has been welcomed by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and Central Bank Governor Nestor Espenilla.

"They both said that the measure would utilize the vast resources of private and commercial banks who are required by law to lend 25 percent of their loan funds to the agriculture and fisheries sector," he said.

Piñol said under the Agri-Agra Law, private and commercial banks are required to earmark 25 percent of their loan funds for projects in the agriculture and fisheries sector.
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