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Official urges small farmers: Obtain loan from ACEF

Backyard hog raisers and other small farmers are encouraged to obtain loans from the government-run Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) from the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF).

Evelyn Abad, LBP-Davao Lending Center account officer, said last month that the bank is ready to lend to small farmers from the ACEF, a fund intended to assist the agriculture sector to increase productivity.

However, Abad said prospective borrowers must present a project proposal that will show that it is profitable and that it has a market.

“Dili pud mi basta-basta magpautang sa ilaha kung upon evaluation, walay potential market so dili feasible ang project. Dili pud namo siya i-approve,” she said, adding that the market is important because this will allow the borrower not only to pay the loan but also make the project profitable.

In the case of an economic slump such as the one caused by African Swine Fever (ASF), Abad said the bank is looking at how to mitigate its impact to one if its clients.

“We are closely monitoring sa iyang situation kay gina-monitor man gud siya sa barangay. Kung musulti gani ang barangay nga kinahanglan pamatyon gyud ilahang (hogs), so that’s the point na mag-initiate na mi sa unsaon namo siya pagtabang,” she said.

Aside from small farmers, also allowed to borrow from the fund are fisherfolk. Cooepratives and associations and registered micro and small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

The loanable amount ranges from P1 million to P5 million, depending on the profile of the borrower with an interest rate of 2% per annum.

Abad added that borrowers, aside from having a viable project proposals, must not have outstanding loan and have collaterals. Borrowers who are 60 or older must have co-makers who are younger than 60, while those borrowing for start-up ventures, must have certification from Department of Agriculture or Agricultural Training Institute to be able to avail of the loan.

In the case of MSMEs, they must be registered with either the Department of Trade and Industry or Securities and Exchange Commission, are not facing complaints or legal questions and have proven track record for at least one year; in the case of cooperatives, they are accredited by the Cooperative Development Authority and do not have outstanding loans.

Officials said the ACEF will also support the proposal of a city council to regulate hog and poultry raising as a response to challenges like the ASF those into these ventures can also seek loans from the government bank.

Under the proposal of Councilor Ralph Abella, backyard hog and poultry-raisers must have a maximum number of hogs and poultry to raise with numbers varying whether the raisers are in the urban or rural areas.

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