Agri-fishery grads, young hobbyists may borrow up to P500k as startup fund

AS EFFORTS to revive the country’s agricultural sector continue, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has allotted P2 billion to encourage the youth to take up farming.

In a press release, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said this is just an initial amount to develop agri-preneurship programs targeting the youth.

“This is our way to attract the younger generation of Filipinos to be key players in attaining our vision of a food-secure Philippines with prosperous farmers and fishers,” Dar said.

In an earlier interview, DA 7 Director Salvador Diputado said the youth needs the push from the agency to help in reinvigorating the agriculture field which is one of the Philippines’ most crucial sectors.

In Cebu, the DA 7 entered into a partnership with the University of San Carlos’ College of Business Administration to include agribusiness entrepreneurship as part of the university’s BS Entrepreneurship degree program.

“It will teach the students not only the production process in farming but also how to market their produce,” he said.

The Agricultural Credit Policy Council (DA-ACPC) is offering an initial P2 billion that young students and entrepreneurs can borrow to start any agriculture, fishery or agribusiness venture.

“We have to replace aging farmers with younger blood—our Pinoy millennials—who are the future of Philippine agriculture,” said Dar, who is also the chairman of the ACPC governing council.

Qualified to avail themselves of the Young Agripreneurs Loan Program loans are agri-fishery graduates and young hobbyists, aged 15 to 30 years old.

“They can borrow start-up funds of up to P500,000 with zero interest, payable in five years,” the statement read.

On other hand, under the Micro and Small Agribusiness Loan Program, agri-preneurs can borrow working capital or for fixed asset acquisition, from P300,000 up to P15 million, for micro and small enterprises.

The two programs will be implemented by the DA-ACPC through the Land Bank of the Philippines, ACPC-accredited cooperative banks, rural banks, cooperatives and viable non-government organizations.

They will be launched formally before the end of January 2020, said DA-ACPC executive director Jocelyn Badiola.

“This has been one of my advocacies. Let us give our Filipino millennials the means to be part of our journey towards agricultural modernization and industrialization,” Dar said.

To support the two new loan programs, he said the DA-ACPC will tap technical experts from the state universities and colleges, DA’s Agricultural Training Institute and Department of Trade and Industry to train and mentor the young borrowers, and micro and small agri-preneurs. (JOB WITH PR)