Farmers coop in Camarines Sur lauded for micro-finance initiatives

DAR Bicol targets 9,000 farmers for crop insurance, preps up for credit program

The Center for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (CARRD) lauded the Minalabac, Mataoroc, Sagrada, San Jose, Baliuag Viejo (MASSBA) agrarian reform community (ARC) Cooperative in Camarines Sur for its micro-finance initiatives in launching a credit program in their locality.

“According to CARRD, they were so impressed with the very remarkable achievement of MASSBA ARC Coop for their savings generation that is utilized to give out loans to fellow farmers,” Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Bicol Regional Director Maria Celestina Manlagñit-Tam said.

MASSBA ARC Cooperative was able to reach beyond 400,000 total deposits coming from the investments of their member-farmers for their savings generation project in barely three months when they started the program in April this year, Tam said. “According to their records, the total amount of 497,000 was already availed through their credit or loan program,” Tam added .

CARRD is a non-government organization initially formed in 1987 to provide technical assistance to peasant organizations and formally established in 1989 to advocate for agrarian reform and rural development agenda.

This notable feat of MASSBA ARC Cooperative spurs DAR for the full implementation of the Agricultural Insurance Program (AIP) and Agrarian Production Credit Program (APCP) to mitigate agricultural losses due to natural calamities and farm pests.

“We have 9,000 target agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) for crop insurance and we are now conducting orientations for them to avail of the insurance as well as the loan,” Tam shared.

DAR-Bicol is now conducting underwriting trainings for ARBOs as part of the preparations to avail the AIP. Immediate completion of the requirements is urgent to jumpstart the insurance program to coincide with the onset of the cropping season of their chosen yield, Tam said.

The national government allocated P1 billion for the AIP to be implemented by DAR together with the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) and another P1 billion for APCP which is a joint undertaking of the DAR, Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Landbank of the Philippines, DAR-Bicol told the Philippine Information Agency.

The AIP is an insurance assistance that can be availed to cover rice, corn, high-value crops including livestock production of ARBs, DAR-Bicol said. The APCP meanwhile provides credit assistance to ARBs or ARB household through organizations or other conduits to support individual or communal crop production.
“APCP ensures sustainable production of crops and increase the income of ARBs household members to strengthen ARBOs and improve the capabilities of ARBs through the provision of institutional capability building,” Tam said.

Aside from loans to finance crop production, APCP also provides agricultural production agreement, financial management support and institutional capability building for ARBOs, DAR-Bicol told PIA. The program requires preparation of ARBOs to become credit conduits and priority is given to provinces with high records in land acquisition and distribution (LAD), DAR-Bicol said.

Data show that only 57% of farmers have access to credit from financing institutions while one in three ARBs in ARCs is in need of credit. Further, new ARB organizations may still not qualify under the credit assistance program of the program beneficiaries development (CAP-PBD) of DAR and LBP regular lending program and some ARB organizations still require organizational strengthening to make them credit worthy. These situations prompted the launching of APCP by pooling the resources and expertise of DA, DAR and Landbank to help ARBs access affordable credit, development assistance and marketing support. (DAR5/PIA5)