Col­lab­o­ra­tion with LBP, PCIC seen to ben­e­fit more farm­ers in Ne­gocc

Sun Star Bacolod - - Business - BY ERWIN P. NICAVERA

THE Pro­vin­cial Govern­ment of Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal, through the Of­fice of the Pro­vin­cial Agri­cul­tur­ist (OPA), is step­ping up its col­lab­o­ra­tion ef­forts with the Land Bank of the Philip­pines (LBP) and Philip­pine Crop In­sur­ance Corp. (PCIC) to ben­e­fit more farm­ers in the prov­ince.

OPA per­son­nel sat down with of­fi­cials and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Lbp-ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal Lend­ing Cen­ter and PCIC Pro­vin­cial Ex­ten­sion Of­fice in a co­or­di­na­tion meet­ing held at Lbp-ga­tus­lao Of­fice in Ba­colod City ear­lier this week.

Dina Gen­zola, pro­vin­cial su­per­vis­ing agri­cul­tur­ist, said the meet­ing was aimed at strength­en­ing the sup­port sys­tem and link­ages in order to reach out and as­sist more mar­ginal farm­ers in the prov­ince.

“Lo­cal farm­ers need more sup­port es­pe­cially in terms of pro­duc­tion, tech­nol­ogy, farm mech­a­niza­tion, pack­ag­ing, pro­cess­ing, credit ac­cess and crop in­sur­ance,” she added.

Among the pro­grams of­fered by the LBP in­clude the Agri­cul­tural Com­pet­i­tive­ness En­hance­ment Fund (ACEF), a lend­ing pro­gram that aims to im­prove the sus­tain­abil­ity of small farm­ers and fish­er­folk with the low­est in­ter­est rate of two per­cent per an­num.

Gen­zola said more marginal­ized farm­ers and fish­er­folk in the prov­ince can also avail other agri­cul­tural pro­grams and ex­ten­sion ser­vices from the LBP as well as the PCIC in boost­ing their yield and in­come.

The PCIC is an ac­tive part­ner of the pro­vin­cial govern­ment in en­sur­ing the crops of lo­cal farm­ers and fish­er­folk.

Through the Ne­gros First Uni­ver­sal Crop In­sur­ance Pro­gram (NFUCIP), for in­stance, the agency pro­vides in­dem­nity claims to en­rolled farm­ers dur­ing crop pro­duc­tion losses due to calamities, pest in­fes­ta­tion and dis­eases.

It can be re­called that Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte, in his fourth State of the Na­tion Ad­dress (Sona), or­dered to the LBP to be ag­gres­sive in help­ing lo­cal co­op­er­a­tives.

Duterte said “You know, you are called Land Bank but you are now the num­ber one com­mer­cial bank in the Philip­pines.”

“Land Bank should go back to land. Why are you mired in so many com­mer­cial trans­ac­tions? Bu­ma­lik kayo where you were cre­ated for and that is to help the farm­ers,” he said.

The Pres­i­dent gave the LBP un­til the end of July to give him a plan or else he will ask Con­gress to re­con­fig­ure it.

“If there is no vi­able plan for the farm­ers and it is just all com­mer­cial trans­ac­tions, might as well abol­ish it and give the money to the con­gress­men for their devel­op­ment funds,” he added.

For his part, Pro­vin­cial Agri­cul­tur­ist Japhet Masculino ear­lier said they are up­beat that the govern­ment-own bank will fur­ther strengthen its pro­grams in the prov­ince fol­low­ing the Pres­i­dent’s pro­nounce­ment.

Masculino said the LBP in Ne­gros, based on their ex­pe­ri­ence, al­ways tried its best to pro­vide loans to the farm­ers de­spite bulk of requiremen­ts, which are part of the process.

“We hope that the Pres­i­dent’s order will fur­ther im­prove the ser­vices of LBP in the prov­ince so more farm­ers will have easy ac­cess to it,” he added.*

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