Nestlé Philippines has successfully assisted an initial batch of coffee farmers to avail of loans under the Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Credit Policy Council’s (DA-ACPC) Production Loan Easy Access (PLEA) Program under the leadership of Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol.
The PLEA Program is the banner credit program of the Department of Agriculture (DA). It is a special credit facility designed to address the financial needs of marginal and small farmers and fisherfolk for fast, convenient and affordable credit.
Under the PLEA, small farmers and fisherfolk may avail of a maximum loan amount of Php 50,000 to finance the production of their crops, livestock, poultry and requirements for fishing activities. For high value crops like coffee, the maximum loanable amount is Php 150,000.
For easier and more convenient credit access, the DA-ACPC taps cooperatives and non-government organizations (NGOs) as credit delivery channels or lending conduits that evaluate each agri-fishery project as well as the capacity to pay of borrowers.
Farmers with land totaling three hectares or below are eligible to apply for the PLEA program, which features a very low interest rate of 6% per annum payable in 2 to 10 years, depending on the commodity or activity. In addition, PLEA does not require any collateral and comes with free insurance from the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC).
Through the collaboration of Nestlé Philippines and DA-ACPC, some 45 coffee farmers from the municipalities of Maramag, Pangantucan and Lantapan in Bukidnon have been able to avail of financial assistance under the PLEA Program.
Loans totaling Php 1,290,000 were released to the coffee farmers through DA-ACPC’s lending conduits in the province: the Mindanao Consolidated Cooperative Bank (formerly Bukidnon Cooperative Bank) and Sta. Monica of Pangantucan Multi-Purpose Cooperative. The initial loans were released last April with a loan repayment period of one year.
Following the successful partnership with DA-ACPC, Nestlé Philippines is committed to continuing the collaboration in order to assist more coffee farmers in the provinces of Bukidnon and Sultan Kudarat to avail of loans under the PLEA program.
Nestlé’s effort to link coffee farmers to credit sources is a component of the NESCAFÉ Plan, a global initiative which helps ensure a sustainable supply of quality green coffee and seeks to create shared value for farmers, in line with Nestlé's purpose of enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future. Through this program, Nestlé Philippines aims to increase the supply of local Robusta coffee while helping Filipino farmers increase their yield and income from coffee farming. Under the program, coffee farmers gain access to good quality plantlets at cost, technology transfer through training across the country, a support network of agronomists, and strategically located buying stations close to coffee areas so they can sell coffee beans directly to Nestlé.