THE Department of Trade
and Industry (DTI) has reiterated its support to local cooperatives as it helps the agriculture
sector and micro, small, and
medium enterprises (MSMEs)
survive amid Covid-19.
At the launch of the Agricultural Cooperative Development
Agenda (ACDA), DTI Secretary
Ramon Lopez accentuated the
role of cooperatives in bringing
inclusive growth at the grassroots level as well as their critical
part in helping the government
deal with economic challenges
brought by the pandemic.
Lopez said the DTI has several initiatives that can help cooperatives in providing support
for MSMEs in the agriculture
sector, such as the Covid-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises
(CARES) program, Livelihood
Serbisyo sa Barangay (LSPNSB) program, and shared services facilities (SSFs) program,
Under the CARES program,
DTI’s financing arm Small Business (SB) Corp. lends zero-interest loans to cooperatives to help
them carry on with their businesses amid the health crisis.
The DTI chief said that as
of February 19, SB Corp. has
released some PHP2.21 billion
loans under the CARES program.
The LSP-NSB program
also provides business advisory
assistance and services to MSMEs affected by natural and human-induced calamities.
DTI’s SSF program, on the
other hand, provides MSMEs
with machinery, equipment,
tools, and systems, among others, under a shared scheme to
improve their competitiveness.
DTI provides these facilities
Additionally, Lopez said
that as part of the whole-of-government approach in developing the country’s agriculture
sector, the Board of Investments (BOI) listed agribusiness under the 2020 Investment Priorities Plan.
“We thank our cooperatives
for being our strong partner
in fostering inclusive growth.
We call on them to maximize
the available opportunities to
further their development. We
hope that you will continually
work with us in the modernization of the agriculture sector,
especially through agribusiness,
so that all our countrymen can
achieve a more comfortable and
higher quality of life as promised
by the President,” Lopez said.