PILI, Camarines Sur ---- “I am the treasurer of the Irrigators Association and it was not an easy job. Farmers often go to me when they have financial problems because, aside from being the Treasurer, I also have an all-in-one store,” shared Justina Congares, one of the 34 Agriculture Extension Worker and farmer participants of the Training on Financial Literacy on July 3-5, 2019.
She added, “I often feel like resigning because I am a very busy person and frankly, it doesn’t give me enough money, but they always tell me that when it comes to money, the only person they entrust to is a God-fearing person like me. So, I always try to balance and manage well my time and finances not just for my own sake, but more for the association.” Congares is the treasurer of the Que Gatos Irrigators Farmers Association in Nabua, Camarines Sur. She is also a store owner and a farmer.
The Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Training Institute Regional Training Center V (ATI RTC V) spearheaded the Training on Financial Literacy at the Mt. Isarog Hall, ATI RTC V, San Agustin, Pili, Camarines Sur. The training was comprised of 4 modules, mainly the Financial Literacy and Its Significance, Roles and Services of Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC), Module on Financial Recording, Bookkeeping, and Auditing, and Business Cycle and Character of Successful Agri-Enterprise.
Lindsay Medrano, the Project Assistant IV of the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC), shared, “We conduct trainings like this with the aim of helping our marginal famers to be entrepreneurs. They will learn how to save, budget, negotiate loans and fill out forms, and wisely manage their income or what they have. We aim to transform our Juan Magsasaka to become Juan Negosyante through this training.”
The ACPC also explains their existing programs like the Production Loan Easy Access, Survival and Recovery Loan, Working Capital Loan Easy Access, and Agriculture and Fisheries Machinery and Equipment, and the needed requirements for their programs, as well as the rights of the farmers or borrowers upon applying for their services and programs.
The resource person for the second and third day, Perlyn Onquit of MAFCOOP discussed about inculcating the Filipino values in improving savings, income, and investments. She also tackled the management of income through budgeting and controlling expenditures, handling loans, and addressing multiple borrowing and over-indebtedness, and practicing of keeping farm business records and planning.
Through this training, participants we able to understand better the concept of financial management. Congares shared, “This training was a blessing in disguise. It helped me not give up on the challenges that our association is facing right now. Ms. Onquit was right that paying debt should come first before looking for expenditure and other to-pay expenses. I experienced a lot regarding that so the knowledge I gained here will surely be applied and passed on to my co-members.”
The 3-day training also became a venue for raising concerns and issues, and learning different topics regarding Financial Literacy.