Lawmaker files bill for accessible loans to farmers, fisherfolk

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 24) — A lawmaker has filed a bill that would promote cheaper and accessible loans to the agriculture sector.

Albay 2nd district Rep. Joey Salceda filed House Bill (HB) 6039, which seeks to enhance Republic Act 10000 or the Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act of 2009.

The bill proposes to establish missionary rural financial inclusion or programs that could make financial services accessible to farmers and fisherfolks. This may include virtual banking.

“Financial inclusion is also critical in ensuring that farmers and fisherfolk are a more attractive credit market. After all, farmers and fisherfolk will not have access to credit if they do not have access to financial services in general,” read the bill.

Under the measure, an agricultural, fisheries, and rural financing system shall provide loans, investments, and grants to finance activities that would improve productivity, competitiveness, and financial viability of the agricultural sector.

The financial grant will benefit cooperatives, associations, and micro, small, and medium enterprises in rural areas.

Further, private and public banking institutions shall set aside a credit quota or a “minimum mandatory agricultural and fisheries financing requirement “of at least 25% of their total loanable funds.

Based on the Agri-Agra Reform Law, of the 25% of the loanable funds, 10% are alloted to the agrarian reform beneficaries and 15% are for farmers and fisherfolks. HB 6039 will no longer classify loans for specific groups.

The proposal is in the wish list of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to Congress.