After completing the documentary requirements in the recently concluded series of training-workshops, a total of 67 agrarian reform beneficiary organizations (ARBOs) in Bicol are now assured of credit and insurance program assistance under the Agrarian Production Credit Program (APCP) and the Agricultural Insurance Program (AIP) respectively.
APCP aims to provide credit assistance to agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) or ARB households through organizations or other conduits which were not given the chance to access credit from other lending institutions. This is in order for them to support their individual or communal crop production.
Aside from loans to finance crop production, APCP ensures sustainable production of crops and increase the income of ARBs household members to strengthen ARBOs. Also, it aims to improve the capabilities of ARBs through the provision of institutional capability building. Moreover, 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).
Data would 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. However, new ARB organizations may still not qualify under the credit assistance program of the 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 Land Bank to help ARBs access affordable credit, development assistance and marketing support.
The Agricultural Insurance Program (AIP) on the other hand aims to enhance agricultural productivity of ARBs, mitigate agricultural losses due to pests, diseases and natural calamities, and improve access to credit. This insurance assistance covers rice and corn, high-value crops, and livestock production. It generally covers the total premium requirements of ARBs covered by Agrarian Reform Community Connectivity Economic Support Services (ARCCESS), borrowers in APCP and other farmer-beneficiaries.
Trainings for ARBOs as underwriters have already been conducted this July 2013 which is part of the preparations to avail the AIP. DAR Bicol Regional Director Maria Celestina M. Manlagnit-Tam, CESO III, stated that immediate completion of the requirements is urgent to set the program in motion to coincide with the onset of the cropping season of the farmers’ chosen yield.
It can be recalled that early this year, the national government allocated P1 billion for the APCP which is a joint undertaking of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), and another P1 billion for the AIP to be implemented by the (DAR) together with the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC).
Meanwhile, 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 the savings generation that is utilized to give out loans to fellow farmers,” RD Tam related.
MASSBA ARC Cooperative was able to reach beyond 400,000 total deposits coming from the investments of its member-farmers for the savings generation project in barely three months when it started the program in April this year. “According to its records, the total amount of P 497,000 was already availed through its credit or loan program,” she 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.