MANILA, Oct. 12 (PNA) — UCPB-CIIF Finance and Development Corp. released Php53.8 million in new loans to coconut farmers in September bringing its nine-month total to Php276.55 million.
The loans financed alternative livelihood activities of coconut farmers such as cash crop cultivation, livestock raising, agricultural commodities trading and village-based processing of coconut by-products, said UCPB-CIIF Finance president Edgardo Amistad.
Amistad said the UCPB Group and the CIIF companies formed UCPB-CIIF Finance in late 1994 to engage in development lending to coconut farmers who have difficulty tapping formal credit sources owing to their small size and the relatively higher risk of their micro-enterprises.
Since it started its development lending operation 21 years ago, UCPB-CIIF Finance has infused Php7.4 billion in loans to the rural economy, benefitting 390,223 coconut farmer households in the 63 coconut-growing provinces of the country.
“Given our high collection rate of 97 percent, we believe the coconut farmers are generating sufficient additional income from the livelihood projects we are financing not only to repay their loans but also to save and to improve their quality of life,” Amistad said.
Lillia Manimog, 63, of Cataingan, Masbate, is one such beneficiary. She used the small loan she obtained from UCPB-CIIF Finance, through her QUENSCAP Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries and Marginal Farmers Cooperative, to go into bread-making, which took off.
With the profits from her successful initial venture, plus additional loans, Nang Lil, as she is fondly called, put up a sari-sari store next, then diversified further into coconut vinegar, coconut wine, coconut charcoal and copra production.
Nang Lil now employs out-of-work people in her community, providing them not only with jobs but also with the inspiration to pursue their own dreams. (PNA)