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DTI reiterates support to local coops

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 Seeding Program–Negosyo Serbisyo sa Barangay (LSPNSB) program, and shared services facilities (SSFs) program, among others.

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 through cooperatives.

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.