Seventyfive out-of-school youths (OSYs) in the province of Ilocos Norte have received a new shot at agri-business opportunities here as they are now engaged in cattle production. Backed by the Department of Agriculture (DA) through its credit and financial program, young farmers composed of OSYs can avail of up to PHP200,000 credit assistance under the agricultural loan program for cattle raising. Before availing of the loan program, provincial veterinarian Loida Valenzuela said in an nterview Friday that beneficiaries underwent basic livestock raising skills training and workshop as part of their preparation.

“This is a big help to our young farmers to increase their income,” Valenzuela said, citing more
OSYs in the province are showing interest in cattle raising. On July 20, the Department of Agriculture turned over a total of 75 heads of cattle for young farmer recipients in the towns of Banna, Nueva Era, Bangui, Solsona, and Badoc. Noel Clarence Ducusin, chief administrator officer of the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC), a credit arm of DA, said they are the second batch of recipients under the program.

Ducusin said this type of credit assistance has a minimum of a 4 percent interest rate per annum
and a 3 percent one-time service fee payable within five years. The principal payment has a grace
period of one year. To minimize the risk of investment, the distributed cattle are also covered by the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) for protection in case of animal disease and natural calamities. “What’s important is for our farmers to have proper skills training on cattle raising. We will continue to guide them along the way even in the marketing aspect,” he said.

Ilocos Norte has been allotted a total of PHP20 million as one of the pilot provinces to implement
the loan program for OSYs. Other provinces include Rizal, Bohol, Leyte, Surigao, and Tawi-Tawi.
As of Jan. 1, 2023, total cattle inventory in Ilocos Norte posted a 6.21 percent increase from
71,947 heads to 76,413 heads in the same quarter last year, according to Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). The PSA said the increase was reflected both in commercial farms and backyard cattle inventory.

(Leilanie Adriano/PNA)

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