DOF welcomes the enactment of Agri-Agra law amendments

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FINANCE Secretary Benjamin Diokno welcomed the enactment of Republic Act 11901 otherwise known as the Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development Financing Enhancement Act of 2022, which lapsed into law on Thursday, July 28, 2022.

“The enactment of the Agri-Agra law amendments is a welcome development for our agriculture sector — a top priority area of the Marcos administration and one of the key drivers of our economic growth,” said Diokno.

Diokno said RA 11901, which repealed Republic Act 10000 or the Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act of 2009, has institutionalized a framework that is more responsive to the financing needs of farmers, fisherfolk, and agri-based micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

The new law is consistent with the reassessment of the Agri-Agra law, which is part of the Philippine Sustainable Finance Roadmap.

RA 11901 mandates an agriculture, fisheries and rural development financing system to improve the productivity, income, competitiveness and welfare of farmers, fisherfolk, agri-based workers and organizations, and other target rural community beneficiaries.

Financing shall come in the form of loans and investments to support productivity-enhancing programs, projects or activities, encourage competitiveness, and promote sustainable development of rural communities.

A menu of activities that may be supported includes, among others, agricultural mechanization, agri-tourism, entrepreneurial activities, green projects, digitalization of farming, fishery and agri business, and acquisition of lands authorized under the Agrarian Reform Code of the Philippines and its amendments.

Post-harvest activities, such as processing, storage, marketing, distribution, and logistics, are also eligible for financing under the law.

Other projects that may be enrolled under the financing system are public rural infrastructure and programs that promote the health and wellness of farmers and fisherfolk.

Financing will be available to rural community beneficiaries, cooperatives, associations, MSMEs, or organizations in good standing regardless of capitalization. Beneficiaries will be assessed based on the feasibility of the project, their estimated production, and paying capacity, among other criteria.

Diokno said RA 11901 expands the role of the banking industry and eases their compliance with Agri-Agra requirements, allowing banks to lend stronger support to the whole value chain of agri-enterprises.

Under the law, banking institutions are expected to design and offer financial products and services that suit the specific requirements of their agricultural clients, taking into account their cash flows and the gestation and harvest period of the agricultural produce, activity, or project being financed.(CSL, PR)

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