Vice President Jejomar Binay lashed on the government, hitting on the Department of Agriculture, Tuesday, criticizing that the Agriculture and Fishery Financing Program (AFFP) is a P1 billion credit facility and yet only P106.5 million was released to farmers and fisherfolk borrowers in 2014.
The AFFP is a flexible credit facility that aims to:
- Increase the productive capacity, competitiveness and income-earning potential of non-agrarian reform beneficiaries in small farming and fishing households registered in 20 priority provinces.
- Raise their income and contribute to the attainment of food self-sufficiency.
- Increase their access to sustainable credit.
- Broaden agricultural credit delivery system in the countryside and other financial services.
The Department of Agriculture through the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) should maximize the use of this fund as this will benefit thousands of farmers and fisherfolk who need sources of funding to procure needed materials and equipment to earn and provide for their family’s daily needs, Binay said.
The ACPC is an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture mandated to do the following:
- Assist the department in synchronizing all credit policies and programs in support of the department’s priority programs.
- Review the economic soundness of all ongoing and proposed agricultural credit programs.
- Receive all reports and documents of all programs with agricultural credit and financing components.
- Undertake measures of increasing its fund base and adopt other liquidity interest stabilization and risk cover mechanisms for its various financing programs in consultation with the Monetary Board.
Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda reacted over Binay’s accusations earlier expressed over “flip-flopping” comment pointing out that the income tax was not cutback and yet the Aquino administration showed no inclusive growth. “What do you expect Vice President Binay to say? He’s sour-graping [because] he was not endorsed by the President,” said Lacierda.
Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and People’s Credit and Finance Corp (PCFC) have approved P421.64 million in loans but only P106.5 million or 10.7 percent of the fund was released to small farmers and fisherfolk borrowers, according to Commission on Audit (COA) based on 2014 audit findings. The audit findings, according to COA, “is reflective of the program’s slow delivery that impacts on the timely attainment of its objectives.”
According to ACPC, there were a number of farmers and fisherfolk who were not listed in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) database. In other cases, there were discrepancies in names due to misspellings. These were grounds for disqualification of farmers and fisherfolk who applied for the program, ACPC said.