Agusan women's association receives soft loan from LEAD program
by Jose Jemuel B. Dael
Agusan del Sur (September 28) -- Another women's association recently has benefited from the soft loan program of the Livelihood Enhancement for Agricultural Development (LEAD) of the Department of Agriculture through the Provincial Agriculture and Fishery Council (PAFC).
The document released by the Provincial Agriculture Office showed that Sawagan United Mothers Association in Veruela receives the cash amounting to P24,000 from the Roll-Over Fund of PAFC to finance the swine fattening project of the association.
Isabelita Ocampo, Institutional Development and RAFC Coordinator of DA-13 said, to date there are four Women's Association in the province that have benefited from the Roll-Over Fund, and that the association in Sawagan is the latest beneficiary.
She added that other women's associations which also benefited from the program are the Sibagat Rice Improvement Club (RIC), Canayugan RIC in Bayugan and Veruela RIC.
Ocampo said that only associations that have agriculture-related projects can avail of the soft loan which is payable within 12 months without interest and collateral.
She explained that Roll-Over Fund of PAFC came from the repayments of the loans from NAFC by big farmer organizations that availed of the livelihood assistance projects of LEAD, which the loan amounts can reach as high as half a million pesos.
However, she said that in the province, only four farmer-organization beneficiaries of NAFC's LEAD program have availed of the soft loan but the amount is less than P500,000.
She mentioned that Farmers Training Centers in Municipalities of Sibagat, Talacogon, Esperanza and Sta. Josefa are the sources of the Roll-Over Fund of the PAFC.
Ocampo is hoping that the minimal amount extended to the Sawagan United Mother's Association could augment the income of the members and could utilize idle time of the mothers since swine fattening is an opportunity for them to become productive while at home.
The Provincial Agriculture Office is also hopeful that the project would help in augmenting the supply of meat in the municipality.
Moreover, Provincial Agriculturist Max Gegato said that along with the provision of financial support are the technical assistance and organizational capability building activities extended to farmers that will be undertaken in collaboration with the Agricultural Technologists of the Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO).
On the national overall program, DA Secretary Arthur Yap said that farmers should be given more access to rural credit and provided assistance in opening more markets for their produce here and abroad to raise their incomes and secure a more stable future for their families.
The Sawagan United Mothers' Association is composed of 24 women-members, mostly wives of farmers. It is organized in 1999 and has actively participated in various agriculture-related activities in their barangay. (PIA Agusan del Sur/with Engr. Oscar Jurado/PAO) [top]