The Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) already lent out a total of PHP229.38 billion to the agriculture sector as of January 31, achieving 86.5 percent of its loan target of PHP265 billion for the entire 2020.
LANDBANK President and Chief Executive Officer Cecilia Borromeo said one month into the year, the Bank has already assisted 17,681 small farmers and fishers in accessing its various lending programs, bringing the total number to 1,050,663 assisted farmers and fishers as of end-January.
This brings the LANDBANK on track to achieving its target of assisting two million small farmers and fishers by yearend, she said in her report to Finance Secretary and LANDBANK chairman Carlos Dominguez III.
Of the PHP229.38 billion loaned out by LANDBANK to the agriculture sector, PHP1.36 billion were released through direct lending to farmers and fishers, while PHP38.53 billion were given through conduits such as cooperatives, farmers’ associations, and rural financial institutions, Borromeo said.
A total of PHP136.18 billion in loans were extended to small, medium and large agribusiness enterprises, while PHP53.31 billion were released to help finance agri-aqua related projects of local government units (LGUs) and government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs).
On LANDBANK’s programs administered for the Department of Agriculture (DA), Borromeo said cumulative releases as of January 31 from the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF) amounted to PHP1.42 billion.
For the DA’s Socialized Credit Program under the Sugarcane Industry Development Act (SIDA), cumulative releases as of January 31 reached PHP130 million; for the Expanded Rice Credit Assistance-Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ERCA-RCEF), PHP410 million; and the Survival and Recovery Assistance Program (SURE-Aid), PHP2.28 billion.
Of these programs, the ERCA-RCEF and SURE-Aid, which were implemented to provide support to farmers following the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL), have the highest utilization rates of 82 percent and 91.2 percent, respectively.
The cumulative releases as of January 31 under the Credit Assistance Program-Program Beneficiaries Development (CAP-PBD) administered for the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) amounted to PHP580 million, she added.
Earlier, Borromeo reported to Dominguez that LANDBANK exceeded its target of providing agricultural credit worth PHP231.25 billion in 2019, with PHP236.31 billion of loans extended to the farm and fisheries sector as of end-December last year, representing a 102-percent accomplishment rate.
Borromeo said LANDBANK also exceeded its target of assisting one million farmers in 2019 by 32,982, which represent a 103-percent accomplishment rate for 2019.
Under Republic Act (RA) No. 10000 or the Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act, banks are required to allot at least 15 percent of their total loanable funds to farmers and fisherfolk, and 10 percent to agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs). (PR)