DA allots P2B for youth agripreneurship programs

QUEZON CITY --The Department of Agriculture through 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.

"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," said agriculture secretary William Dar.

"We have approved an initial P2 billion to implement two lending programs, namely the Young Agripreneurs Loan Program (YALP), and Micro and Small Agribusiness Loan Program (MSALP) — with an initial budget of P1B each, during the DA-ACPC 67th governing council meeting, on January 8, 2020," said Secretary Dar.

"We have to replace aging farmers with younger blood -- our Pinoy millennials -- who are the future of Philippine agriculture,” added the DA chief, who chairs the ACPC governing council.

Eligible to avail of YALP 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.

On other hand, under the MSALP, 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 (LBP), ACPC-accredited cooperative banks, rural banks, cooperatives, and viable non-government organizations (NGOs).

“They will be launched formally before 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,” secretary Dar added.

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