THE Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food, Inc. (PCAFI) is urging the trade department to assist farmers in developing business plans to make them more attractive loan clients for banks.

“I would like (Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez) to help us set up a special team of financial advisors (for) farmers,” PCAFI President Danilo V. Fausto said in an interview before the association was due to conduct a general meeting Saturday.

He said that assistance from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) should extend beyond micro-businesses and also cover larger agribusiness associations, noting that the United Broilers and Raisers Association (UBRA) poultry association is interested in putting up a pre-production plant.

“We cannot allow or require Landbank to prepare this for us because that will be a conflict of interest… so we need a third party and we’re asking assistance from DTI perhaps for financial advisory groups that can help our people to get that very elusive credit access,” he added.

Mr. Fausto also said that the industry needs a mobile phone-based centralized system of data on supply, demand, and prices of all commodities nationwide “so that producers know what to produce and where to sell these products.”

UBRA President Elias Jose M. Inciong told reporters at the same event that there is a gap in providing data access to business investors.

“‘Yung investment decisions, they base it on retail (prices),” he said, instead of farmgate prices. — Jenina P. Ibañez