By Arwen Pascua
MANILA – The Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) has extended a total of P230.23 billion in loans to the agriculture sector as of October this year, which makes up 94 percent of its target of P245 billion for 2020.
According to a report to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, over 2.5 million farmers and fishers have benefited from assistance in the form of soft loans, subsidies and training programs provided by LANDBANK to them as of end-October, representing a 125-percent accomplishment rate over the 2-million target for 2020 set by the state lender.
Of the loan releases of P230.23 billion, about two-thirds or P145.86 billion went to small, medium and large agribusinesses enterprises, while the remaining third (P35.66 billion) went to small farmers, fisherfolk and the agri-aqua related projects of local government units (LGUs) and government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) (P48.71 billion), according to LANDBANK president-CEO Cecilia Borromeo.
Small farmers and fishers borrowed a total of P1.36 billion through direct lending, while loans to conduits such as cooperatives and farmers’ associations, rural financial institutions and other lending mechanisms amounted to P34.3 billion, Borromeo said in her report to Dominguez, who chairs the LANDBANK Board.
As of October this year, LANDBANK provided P8.31 billion in loans through programs it has been administering for the Department of Agriculture (DA), such as the those under Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF), the Socialized Credit Program under the Sugarcane Industry Development Act (SIDA), the Expanded Rice Credit Assistance (ERCA) under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), and the Survival and Recovery Assistance (SURE-Aid) for rice farmers, Borromeo said.
For programs it has been administering for the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), LANDBANK has provided P65 million as of October.
From 1,300,135 farmers and fishers in April, LANDBANK cumulatively increased the number of rural folk it has assisted to 2,502,640 in October, exceeding its 2-million target by over half-a-million, Borromeo said in her report.
Of this number, 716,931 small farmers were assisted through the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RFFA) and Financial Subsidy to Rice Farmers (FSRF) programs of the DA.
Through the LANDBANK Countryside Development Foundation, the institution was also able to train 67,789 farmers in unbanked municipalities to help improve their financial literacy, Borromeo said.
In terms of economic activity, the support to the agriculture sector through loans for the construction of irrigation systems and post-harvest facilities accounted for P99.48 billion or 43 percent of the P230.23 billion in lending to this sector.
The P74.81 billion extended to finance agri-processing and trading activities; P36.44 billion provided to the livestock subsector, and the P17.82 billion and P1.68 billion that went to the crops and fisheries subsectors, respectively, complete the breakdown of the P230.23 billion agriculture loans as of October 2020. (AI/FC/MTVN)