Wake Up, Philippines!

Micro-finance helps landless women farmers

Posted in Agriculture, Livelihood, Micro-finance by Erineus on February 11, 2009

Marta Malijan is a pig raiser in Bitin, Laguna. The other year, she took a loan from the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development, Inc. (CARD) for her agribusiness activity. Today, she has eight breeders and is raising over 50 piglets.

With the improvement she made with the loan, she was able to raise enough funds to branch out her business and set up a small dry goods store. She also partnered with Genelyn Agao, another CARD beneficiary, in setting up a beauty salon in their community.

Aling Marta and Aling Genelyn are just two of the many beneficiaries of the micro-finance program of CARD, a non-government organization and a known innovator in micro-finance which focuses on helping agricultural communities.

This year, the hundreds of other landless women farmers are set to benefit from the program as CARD received a P440,000 grant from Chevron Geothermal Philippines Holdings, Inc. The amount will be used in the implementation of “Sikap,” a production loan facility in Barangays Bitin, Sta. Elena and Limao in Laguna. The three barangays are some of the host communities being supported by CGPHI.

CARD was tapped by CGPHI to be its partner in micro-lending activities for its host communities. Under said partnership, CARD will implement Sikap Loan which seeks to support the livelihood activities of landless women in the province. Through Sikap, members can get an initial loan amount of P2,000 to P7,000, payable in six months or one year at 2.5% interest per month. Repayment is weekly.

CARD and CGPHI’s partnership for this micro-finance program aims to give poor women in three barangays in Laguna a better chance in life by providing them opportunities to build sustainable livelihoods and lifestyles. Seeking to educate women farmers in managing their money and establishing savings, CARD requires members to save at least P40 per week, which can be withdrawn as long as 15% of the principal loan is retained.

The partnership between CARD and CGPHI was established in December 2007 through a memorandum of agreement. Through this partnership, CARD was able to grant loans to 226 women in Barangays Bitin, Sta. Elena and Limao, up from 143 women members prior to CARD’s receipt of funding assistance from CGPHI. By end of 2008, 240 women were able to receive assistance from the financing program.

CGPHI is a steam-field operator providing geothermal energy to the Tiwi and Mak-Ban power plants located in Albay and Laguna-Batangas provinces. It is committed to being an active and engaged partner to its host communities through enterprise and capacity-building programs.

Source: http://www.mb.com.ph/archive_pages.php?url=http://www.mb.com.ph/issues/2009/02/07/AGRI20090207147397.html