Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Manny Piñol together with its top ranking officials and heads of agencies launched the Production Loan Easy Access or PLEA program in the town of Malimono, Surigao del Norte.
PLEA, a credit program conceptualized by the agriculture chief, aims to empower farmers and fisherfolks by providing them easy access to credit.
“PLEA promotes greater productivity. The way I see it, this program will eventually reduce dependency of farmers and fisherfolks from dole outs from the government because they are now given access to an efficient and available credit program for them to be able to acquire their needs in carrying out their livelihood,” Piñol explained.
Under the program, the maximum loanable amount is P50,000 with flexible payment terms and amount depending on the type of agri-fishery commodity with only 6% interest per annum.
Commodities under the PLEA are also covered with crop insurance under the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC).
Only farmers and fisherfolks enrolled under the Juan Magsasaka at Mangingisda National Database System – a centralized database containing vital information of the registered stakeholders, will be eligible to avail of the loan.
“Malimono is an example of a poor town that just needs a little push from the government.” Piñol said explaining why Malimono was chosen as the pilot area for PLEA.
Other areas that will be a part of PLEA are: 1) Bongabon, Nueva Ecija; 2) Wao, Lanao del Sur; 3) Banisilan, Cotabato; 4) Pitogo, Bohol; 5) Laguna de Bay; 6) Midsayap, Cotabato; 7) M’lang Cotabato; 8) Isabela; 9) Kalinga, and 10) Koronadal, South Cotabato.
The agriculture secretary is also considering an integration with PhilHealth so that those who will register in the Juan Magsasaka at Mangingisda program will automatically get medical coverage as well.
While in Malimono, Piñol led the groundbreaking ceremony of a P20-million community fish landing project. The facility is expected to be the hub for economic activities, skills training venue, a place for community organizing and information sharing as well as monitoring of fish catch and stocks assessment. It also comes complete with cold storage, ice plant, and processing area as well as a delivery van.
He also turned over a total of P6.5 Million worth of agri-fishery interventions to Surigao and Surigaodel Norte.