Gov’t readies perks to convert OFWs to ‘agripreneurs’
Without a vaccine to control the spread of the new coronavirus pandemic, several overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have decided to move back to the Philippines to be with their families—a trend that the government sees as an opportunity to lure migrant workers to invest in local agri-ventures.To do this, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said it would be offering zero-interest loans, free training and technical and marketing assistance to OFWs who would like to invest their hard-earned money in agriculture.This will also complement efforts by the administration to draw rural folk who migrated to the cities back to their provinces through the Balik Probinsya program. All these moves are directed to decongest the country’s bustling capital.“Now is the time to tap the OFW sector as they start to reintegrate themselves back to their respective homes, communities and provinces,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said.
“We are opening our doors to OFWs … to join the ranks of our new breed of agripreneurs, who will help us revive and reboot the countryside,” he added.
Under the agency’s SURE COVID-19 program, midsize enterprises may avail themselves of up to P10 million as working capital at zero interest, payable in five years. They could use the money to engage in agri-fishery production, delivery of produce or commodities and other activities in the supply chain, especially operations affected by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
Individual farmers and fishers affected by the ECQ may also borrow a noncollateralized loan of P25,000 at zero interest, payable in 10 years, to jump-start operations.
Sole proprietors, partnerships, corporations and cooperatives whose members are marginal farmers and fisherfolk may also avail themselves of P300,000 up to P15 million to finance agribusiness ventures or acquire fixed assets.
OFWs with little know-how can tap the agency’s Agricultural Training Institute for capacity-building and skills training, while DA’s Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service will provide market-consumer linkaging. INQ
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