MinDA eyes PO system to boost agri-production

By Prexx Marnie Kate Trozo

April 19, 2020, 11:49 am

<p>Food Bank Concept <em>(Graphics and illustration by MinDA) </em></p>

Food Bank Concept (Graphics and illustration by MinDA) 

DAVAO CITY – The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) said it is finalizing a purchase order or PO system for farmers to help them secure more capital and increase productivity.

In a Facebook post on Friday, MinDA Secretary Emmanuel Piñol described the PO system as a "market-driven food production concept" in which a PO is issued before farmers or fishermen start production, which in turn could be used as a guarantee for a bank financing.

Piñol said the concept is being "fine-tuned" by MinDA with the help of the private sector.

“When this is done, MinDA will choose a pilot province where the program will be initially implemented,” he said while noting that as the country faces an uncertain supply of food, many farmers are still hesitant to expand their rice, chicken and hog farms.

This, he said, can be attributed to the recent pronouncement of the Department of Agriculture (DA) that it will rely mainly on imports.

Piñol said a farmer recently expressed fear of possible economic displacement if the country is inundated with imported agricultural products as soon as the public health emergency is lifted.

“Their fear, indeed, has a basis. Over the last few days, I have worked on a concept of a food banking system where the farmer engages his local government unit to produce the food needed in the relief operations for the Covid-19 crisis,” he said.

Under the system, he said the farmer will be issued a "food bank receipt" that could be used in availing of financing from a participating bank, a scheme which would free government from worries on where to get funding to feed the Filipinos in cases of long-term calamities or a pandemic.

“This concept is now being dove-tailed with a scheme designed by businessman Rene Pamintuan whose General Santos-based company is involved in logistics and exports. Pamintuan's "purchase order" system of agricultural production involves determining the basic commodities which are needed during the crisis and beyond,” the MinDAc chief added. (PNA)