Speaking before 15,000 participants of the 1st Mindanao Federalism Summit organized by Hugpong Federal Movement held in Cagayan de Oro, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol bared DA to set aside Php170 million worth of loans for farmers in Talakag town, Bukidnon.The Php150 million can be availed through Production Loan Easy Access (Plea) facility, a special credit program designed to address financial needs of marginalized farmers for fast, convenient and affordable credit, being implemented by the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC), an attached agency of DA.
It offers non-collateralized loans for agri-fishery production through cooperative banks, cooperatives, farmers and fisherfolk organizations, non-government organizations (NGOs) as lending conduits. Borrowers can avail up to Php50,000 per household depending on the agri-fishery production project to be financed at six-percent interest rate per annum payable within a period ranging from two to 10 years.
While the Php20 million is intended as start-up capital of farmers’ cooperative/association in Talakag to purchased locally produced high value vegetables including carrots, potatoes, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower.
In his recent visit to farmers in Talakag, Sec. Piñol learned a kilo of carrots costs Php55 only. For potatoes (Php30), cabbage (Php12-20) and broccoli at Php50 per kilo.
Hence, the DA chief has seen the potential of Talakag and committed to provide four units refrigerated van to these farmers and assist in transporting the vegetables to Manila and identify potential market.
DA will initially shoulder the transport cost wherein 40 to 60 tons of high value vegetables will be transported weekly to Manila starting this month. This, as the secretary is optimistic this will help stabilize the prices. As cited, Benguet has been producing less due to weather condition.
“While Metro Manila consumers are complaining about the high prices of vegetables, farmers in this cool mountain town (Talakag) are grumbling about the very low buying prices for their produce,” Piñol said when he narrated when he was on his way to the federalism summit and passed by a group of farmers sacking cabbage which was harvested from a nearby field.
A farmer said the prices of cabbage today in Cagayan de Oro was only Php12 per kilo delivered to the buying station. They also have to pay loans with vey high interest rates charged by the financiers.
Hence, DA has steeped in providing a Php20 million loan for the Talakag Farmers Association, Sec. Piñol said.
The Talakag local government unit will provide an area which will serve as the consolidation area where vegetables will be cleaned and packed.
Three other Bukidnon towns—Lantapan, Sumilao and Impasugong—are being eyed by DA as sources of high value vegetables.
Talakag Mayor Virgito Factura and farmers’ leader Ryan Daño and two other offficials are set to meet prospective buyers and ACPC to finalize the marketing agreements. They will also be brought to vegetable trading center in Benguet to have a first hand look at the operations of a trading center.
DA is also set to turnover four units of farm tractor—two 100-horsepowers and two 35-horsepowers; and five heads each for cattle and carabao to Talakag this week.
He also urged the summit participants to produce more food for this country.
Meanwhile, the secretary emphasized now is the time for us to be fair and let every region develop its potential and decide for its own.
He also said the rapid increase of price on agricultural produce may be addressed once the federal form of government pushes through. Federalism would address an access to the market.
According to him, a lot of middlemen are capturing the values of product because it is a centralized and controlled market, and with the new type of government consumers wont have to worry about meeting their preferences. (EOR/PIA10)
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Jan 19, 2019 0