Agro-industry loans surged by 150% in 2012By Riza T. Olchondra
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Loans released under the Agro-Industry Modernization Credit and Financing Program (AMCFP) grew by 151 percent to P1.12 billion in 2012 from that of the previous year as the number of farmer clients also grew by 15 percent to 29,496, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said in a report.
The amount of loans released by the AMCFP in 2012 was also around 4 percent higher than the P1.08 billion targeted for the year under the program.
AMCFP is the financing program of the DA, as mandated by the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (AFMA) of 1997.
The Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) implements the program.
Agriculture officials said the improved performance of the AMCFP was due to the implementation of a depository scheme called AMCFP-Cooperatives Agri Lending Program (AMCFP-CBAP), which led to the immediate release of P935.6 million in loans in 2012.
Under the depository scheme, ACPC will place funds in special time deposits in participating cooperative banks. The cooperative banks will then use the funds to expand their agriculture and fishery loan portfolio.
“By putting the funds in [special time deposits] … ACPC is able to bring down the effective interest rates for end-borrowers. The number of borrowers under the AMCFP-CBAP reached 18,437 in 2012,” Agriculture officials said.
Under another program of the AMCFP, the Agri-Microfinance Program (AMP), a total of P137.8 million was released to 10,136 farmers and fisherfolk in 2012. The program provides credit to qualified microfinance institutions for relending to small individual borrowers.
The implementation in 2012 of the Sikat Saka Program, jointly implemented by the ACPC and the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), also contributed to the total loans granted under the AMCFP in 2012.
The Sikat Saka Program released P49.2 million in loans to 764 rice farmers in 2012. The program provides credit for palay production to eligible members of irrigators; associations to help meet the FSSP’s goal of attaining self-sufficiency in rice by 2013.
There was also the Cooperatives Agri Lending Program (CALP), which released loans amounting to P5.5 million to 159 borrowers in 2012. The CALP was implemented starting March 2011. It was a joint program of the ACPC and the Development Bank of the Philippines, which provided a revolving credit line for cooperatives.
From the time it was first implemented in 2003, the AMCFP has already granted a total of P5.44 billion in loans benefiting 198,085 farmer and fisherfolk nationwide as of December 2012.