A nationwide lending program to provide financial assistance to marginal farmers and fishermen was launched in Northern Samar (Catarman) on September 15 and in Eastern Samar on September 16.
Known as the Unified Lending Program for Agriculture (PUNLA), the program will be implemented in ten of the poorest provinces in the country, namely Apayao, Negros Oriental, Zamboanga del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Cotabato, Saranggani. Maguindanao, Eastern Samar, Western Samar, and Northern Samar.
PUNLA, according to Department of Agriculture (DA) officials, seeks to deviate from currnt lending programs that ask for too many paper and other requirements which often discourage poor rural folks from borrowing.
The launching of the program was led by DA Secretary Manny Pinol, together with DA Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) Executive Director Jocelyn Alma Badiola.
The program is part of the government’s efforts to provide trouble-free services to rural communities, Pinol said.
PUNLA, which has initial funding allocation of P200 million.
Available under the program are non-collateralized loans for agri-fishery production and agri-microfinance.
The program will be made available thru farmers’ organizations, cooperatives or non-government organizations,” Badiola said.
Badiola added that an institutional capability building training will be provided to conduits prior to the approval and release of loans “to enable them to implement the credit system effectively.”
The program will also provide insurance coverage under the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation.
Photo: from mb.com.ph