“A farmer has to be a scientist. You have to do a lot of observing. You don’t just plant and plant.” – This is the philosophy that farmer-turned-agripreneur Ruben Ragas lives by.
His farm in Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte is proof of his careful and meticulous planning. All sections - from the fish pond and livestock shed to the various vegetable plots - are strategically laid out for specific reasons. “It has to be,” Ruben says. “For example, since the wind from the sea blows from the west, if we put the livestock shed west of the house, the smell is going to go straight to our living room. Everything has to be thought out.”
Ruben is among the hundreds of small farmers who benefited from direct financing from LANDBANK through the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF). The ACEF Lending Program is implemented by LANDBANK in partnership with the Department of Agriculture to help increase the productivity of farmers, fishers, and their cooperatives and associations, as well as MSMEs, through credit assistance. Since the Program was launched in 2018, the Bank has so far released P154.29 million in loans to more than 400 borrowers.
Determined to improve his knowledge and skills, Ruben continuously attended seminars and technical courses related to farming. His one-year stint with the Federation of Agrarian Reform Communities further taught him basic knowledge and skills on effective farming and efficient marketing strategies.
Equipped with farm resource and basic entrepreneurial experience, Ruben hoped to further grow their family’s livelihood. Through LANDBANK-assisted Baug CARP Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative (BCBMPC) in Magallanes, Agusan del Norte, Ruben was able to buy seedlings and farm-inputs from a P15,000-loan from the coop. Over the next few years, he went to BCBMPC for more capital, including a P50,000 loan, to help him buy another half-hectare of land. He has also since then diversified into raising tilapia and various livestock.
Before venturing into diversified and organic farming, his family’s income was so small. Ruben recalls how they used to live in a wood and nipa house with no concrete floor. His farm also used to be overrun with tall grass and the land so infertile.
Today, his integrated farm is planted with a variety of vegetables, fruits, and root crops. He also raises native chicken, turkey, goats, and cows; and he produces tilapia, dalag, and other native freshwater fish. He remains methodical as he implements organic farming – with the manure of his livestock and left-over vegetables allowed to naturally decompose for use as fertilizer; while the urine from his goats are for later use as plant insect repellent and fungicide.
In 2018, Ruben availed of the ACEF loan from LANDBANK, hoping to further expand his farm. Less than four months after the release of the loan, Ruben and his family launched The Ragas Farm where visitors are allowed to pick their choice of fruits and vegetables and buy them at significantly cheaper prices than retail market price.
Aside from working capital for vegetable production, LANDBANK also provided Ruben with a term loan for the improvement of his farm which includes the building of a training hall and a drilled well for their farm irrigation.
Through his methodical farming and the financial support provided by LANDBANK through the ACEF Fund, The Ragas Farm is now a major producer of farm-fresh vegetables. It is also fast becoming a major agri-tourism site – attracting visitors from different municipalities and serving as a venue for technology trainings for various small farmers.
Ruben is now also an educator and life coach sought after by institutions to conduct lessons and seminars for aspiring agri-entrepreneurs. For his accomplishments in farming and inspiring drive to succeed, Ruben was awarded by LANDBANK as “Ulirang Magsasaka” in the 2015 Gawad sa Pinakatanging Kooperatiba.
LANDBANK cash grant payouts reach P89-B as of September
In partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) continues to deliver timely financial assistance as it released P89.45 billion in cash grants that benefitted 6.3 million lowincome families as of the first nine months of 2021. Of the total releases, P82.72 billion in cash grants were distributed to 4.4 million beneficiaries under the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) Program, intended to support poor households with children aged 18 years old and below. The remaining P6.73 billion was released to 1.9 million beneficiaries under the DSWD’s Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) Program, as part of support interventions in line with the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law. “LANDBANK remains one with the National Government in the immediate delivery of social protection interventions and much-needed financial relief to vulnerable sectors. Under the whole-of-nation approach, we work closely with the DSWD and other government partners at the forefront of extending responsive and impactful services,” said LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo. The Bank also continues to distribute LANDBANK cash cards to CCT and UCT beneficiaries to make receiving and accessing benefits easier and more convenient. The cards can be used for cash withdrawals at LANDBANK ATMs and Agent Banking Partners, and for cashless purchases in groceries and drugstores, among others. As of 30 September 2021, LANDBANK has produced 6.4 million cash cards for this ongoing partnership, of which 4.4 million cards are already being utilized by the beneficiaries. CCT and UCT beneficiaries may also receive their benefits via over-thecounter transactions at LANDBANK branches and through various conduits. LANDBANK is relentless in fulfilling its expanded mandate as the delivery arm for the National Government’s social protection initiatives, in line with serving the Filipino people and the nation at large.LEARN MORE
Retail Treasury Bonds purchase made accessible via LANDBANK app
The Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) has made investing in the Bureau of the Treasury’s (BTr) 26th tranche of Retail Treasury Bonds (RTB-26) more accessible with the LANDBANK Mobile Banking App (MBA). The RTB-26 is a five-and-a-half-year bond with a coupon rate of 4.625% per annum designed for retail investors as a low-risk and higher-yielding savings instrument. Proceeds of the offer that is expected to reach P30 billion will support the National Government’s ongoing pandemic response initiatives and priority projects, among others. Through the LANDBANK MBA, interested investors can purchase RTB-26 for as low as P5,000 and in multiples of P5,000 thereafter in as fast as five minutes. This feature is also available in the Mobile Banking App of the Overseas Filipino Bank (OFBank), the official digital bank of the Philippine government and a subsidiary of LANDBANK. “We are once again inviting the investing public to support the BTr’s latest Retail Treasury Bond offer now made more convenient through LANDBANK’s digital platforms. Investors can purchase this affordable and low-risk investment in five minutes, and at the same time contribute directly to advancing the country’s ongoing economic recovery,” said LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo. Investors can also make online placements for RTB-26 through the BTr’s Online Ordering Platform then settle their payments via the LANDBANK Link.BizPortal. Over-the-counter placements are also accepted in all LANDBANK branches nationwide. The offer period for RTB-26 is until 26 November 2021, which includes a bond exchange offer where holders of Fixed-Rate Treasury Notes (FXTNs) 10-54 and 5-74 can swap their holdings for the new bond offering. The RTB-26 follows the RTB-25 issuance last March which raised P463.32 billion, of which LANDBANK generated 27% or a total of P124.39 billion. It also immediately comes after the highly successful first onshore retail dollar bond (RDB) issue in September that raised $1.6 billion for the national government, of which LANDBANK contributed US$205.27 million of total sales. LANDBANK serves as the Joint Lead Issue Manager for the RTB-26 offering, in line with promoting greater financial inclusion and inclusive national development.LEARN MORE
LANDBANK, Abra town sign P60-M loan for dev’t projects
Lagayan Mayor Edmarc L. Crisologo (2nd from left) and LANDBANK Ilocos Sur Lending Center Head Loida Arlene Ringor (3rd from left) lead the signing of a P60-million loan to finance various infrastructure projects for the Municipality. They are joined by Vice Mayor Apolinar Molina, Sr. (4th from left), Municipal Treasurer Jesus B. Dalangin (rightmost), and LANDBANK Account Officer Richard A. Refuerzo (leftmost). LAGAYAN, Abra – The Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) and the Municipal Government of Lagayan in Abra province recently signed a P60-million loan to finance development projects to boost the local economy. Facilitated by the LANDBANK Ilocos Sur Lending Center, the 15-year term loan will finance the rehabilitation of a municipal road between barangays Pulot and Poblacion, to significantly improve the movement of goods and the public within the municipality. The road serves as the main route linking all four of Lagayan’s barangays and connects the town to other adjacent municipalities. The municipal road is seen to benefit Lagayan’s 4,617 residents, including 850 farmers and 625 fishers, and allows them to travel more safely and efficiently, especially when transporting agricultural goods to markets in nearby municipalities. The road will also support increased tourism activity within the municipality. Local tourist attractions in Lagayan include the caves in Mount Gaco, Lusuac Sprint Resort, and whitewater tubing or bamboo rafting near Ar-Arbis Falls. The P60-million LANDBANK term loan will also cover the purchase of a payloader to be used mainly in dredging the Palsuguan and Tineg rivers traversing Lagayan. This is part of the LGU’s efforts to prevent floods in rice fields and barangays caused by the natural build-up of debris and rising waters resulting from monsoon rains. To further control seasonal flooding, the LGU will also use part of the LANDBANK loan to put up a drainage canal system in Barangay Poblacion to improve water drainage for the health and safety of residents. “LANDBANK remains a ready and able partner of LGUs nationwide for various recovery and development initiatives. We will continue to serve local communities to spur economic activity, growth, and recovery,” said LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo. Lagayan Mayor Edmarc L. Crisologo expressed his appreciation for LANDBANK’s financial support, which will also bankroll the construction of a Legislative Building and the rehabilitation of the municipality’s Evacuation Center to be able to accommodate more evacuees, especially during disasters. The Center will also serve as the operations hub for the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management (MDRRM). “May we continue and strengthen our partnership towards the success of every Lagayano’s dream. On behalf of my constituents, I am in deep gratitude for the helping hand extended by LANDBANK and the realization of the vision, dreams, and aspirations that Lagayanos have been longing for a long time now,” said Mayor Crisologo. As of end-October 2021, LANDBANK has extended P62.06 billion in outstanding loans to LGUs nationwide. Of this amount, P22.96 billion financed various agri-aqua projects, including P5.82 billion and P5.23 billion for transportation and health-care initiatives, respectively.LEARN MORE