State-run Land Bank of the Philippines (LandBank) committed to support more farmers’ groups after extending a total of P20.86 billion in outstanding loans to as many as 1,081 cooperatives and farmers’ associations as of end-August.
In a statement, LandBank President and CEO Cecilia Borromeo assured cooperatives of readily available credit facilities with low interest rates to finance recovery projects and initiatives amid the pandemic.
As of August this year, LandBank ‘s outstanding loans to the agriculture sector already reached P224.66 billion, of which P20.86 billion was extended to farmers’ cooperatives.
This amount includes P428 million in loans provided to cooperatives under several programs of the Department of Agriculture (DA), including the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF) and the Expanded Rice Credit Assistance under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ERCA-RCEF).
It also includes the Socialized Credit Program under the Sugarcane Industry Development Act (SCP-SIDA) of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA).
In particular, ACEF targets to increase productivity of farmers and fishers by providing the necessary credit to farmers and fishers and their cooperatives and associations, and micro and small-scale enterprises, for the acquisition and establishment of production, postharvest, and processing machineries, equipment and facilities, farm inputs and improvement.
A maximum of P5 million can be availed by farmer and fishers cooperatives, associations, and micro and small enterprises.
The RCEF, on the other hand, is mandated under the Rice Tariffication Law or Republic Act 11203 and is allotted with P10 billion annually under the General Appropriations Act to be used to improve the productivity of rice farmers.
Of this annual amount, P1 billion is allocated for credit which is being administered by LandBank.
Meanwhile, SCP-SIDA is funded by 15 percent (or about P300 million) of the annual P2-billion fund allocated for the development of the country’s sugar industry.
Borromeo said LandBank supports the government’s move to promote cooperatives and farmers’ associations—particularly those involved in the farming sector—as a means to achieve economies of scale and efficiency.
Alongside extending loans, LandBank will also be providing financial literacy training to 220 micro and small co-ops from 92 unbanked municipalities under the FIT-Coop Program.
Implemented together with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), the program is designed to help improve the business operations and strengthen the capacity of cooperatives to access formal credit.
“Once again, rest assured that LandBank stands shoulder to shoulder with you–our partners in cooperativism. Together, let us work our way to a new normal that promotes greater cooperation, resilience and sustained economic growth for one and all,” Borromeo said.