“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 turns over grains complex to Isabela LGU to support small farmers
(left photo) Isabela Governor Rodolfo T. Albano, III (center) and LANDBANK Southern Isabela Lending Center Head, Vice President Bernard Bayangos (2nd from right) lead the turn-over of a grains complex to the Provincial Government of Isabela. ECHAGUE, Isabela — The Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) officially turned-over a grains complex located at Brgy. Ipil to the Provincial Government of Isabela in support of its Palay Procurement Program for small farmers. The Province is leasing the grains complex from the state-run Bank with obligations to repair, rehabilitate and upgrade the facility, including the typhoon-damaged warehouse and rice mill buildings. The grains complex is part of a P2-billion LANDBANK loan availed by the local government—of which P1 billion will be used as working capital for palay procurement, while the remaining P1 billion as standby credit for investment in equipment and machineries. “LANDBANK fully supports initiatives that provide small farmers a reliable source of income, including access to post-harvest facilities. We will also continue to service the development requirements of our local government partners towards food security, especially in the countryside,” said LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo. Through the Palay Procurement Program, Isabela Governor Rodito Albano III aims to boost the productivity and income of small farmers in the area, by offering an assured and reasonable price for their produce while stabilizing the price of palay in the local market. Around 16,667 small rice farmers from 34 municipalities, three (3) cities, and 1,055 barangays in the Province are targeted to benefit from the Program. “Ang actual Return of Investment dito ay hindi yung kikitain ng probinsya. Ang kita ng probinsya rito ay yung tulong sa farmers, para at least stable lang yung prices. Ang pinakaimportante dito ay nakatugon tayo doon sa mga farmers,” said Gov. Rodito. LANDBANK remains the biggest lender to the agriculture sector, with loans reaching P257.94 billion as of May 2022. The agriculture loans have financed various economic activities of major players in the industry, including local government units (LGUs). While expanding its focus to assist other key sectors and industries in the country, LANDBANK remains steadfast in fulfilling its primary mandate to deliver intensified support to the agriculture sector.LEARN MORE
LANDBANK boosts presence in Laguna with new corporate center
LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo (center), Sta. Cruz Mayor Edgar S. San Luis (2nd from right), and Provincial Government of Laguna Administrator Atty. Dulce H. Rebanal (rightmost) lead the inauguration of the LANDBANK Laguna Corporate Center in Brgy. Bubukal in Sta. Cruz, Laguna on 10 June 2022. Joining them are other local government officials, LANDBANK senior officers, and the Bank’s valued customers. STA. CRUZ, Laguna – In line with its commitment to provide convenient and accessible services, the Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) officially inaugurated a three-story corporate center in the Province of Laguna to serve as a one-stop shop for the banking and financing needs of local stakeholders and customers. Located in Brgy. Bubukal in Sta. Cruz, the LANDBANK Laguna Corporate Center houses the Bank’s major touchpoints and local offices to provide convenient access to a wide array of services. LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo, Sta. Cruz Mayor Edgar S. San Luis, and Provincial Government of Laguna Administrator Atty. Dulce H. Rebanal led the inauguration rites for the new corporate center on 10 June 2022. They were joined by incoming Cavinti Mayor Arrantlee R. Arroyo, incoming Paete Mayor Ronald B. Cosico, and LANDBANK Director Nancy D. Irlanda. Also present during the inauguration were LANDBANK Executive Vice Presidents Julio D. Climaco, Jr., Alex A. Lorayes, Liduvino S. Geron and Alan V. Bornas, together with Senior Vice Presidents Randolph L. Montesa, Althon C. Ferolino and Lucila E. Tesorero. “With the LANDBANK Laguna Corporate Center, we are looking forward to stepping up our support to the whole Province of Laguna. We hope that this will serve as a landmark for various economic activities and a catalyst to expand areas for collaboration in support of the Province’s key sectors,” said President and CEO Borromeo. The LANDBANK Sta. Cruz Branch on the ground floor of the building will service customers from the 26 barangays of Sta. Cruz, as well as the 176 combined barangays of the nearby municipalities of Cavinti, Kalayaan, Luisiana, Lumban, Magdalena, Majayjay, Pagsanjan, Paete, Pila, and Victoria. The second floor houses the LANDBANK Laguna Lending Center to cater to the financing requirements of local farmers and fishers, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), cooperatives, and local government units (LGUs), among others. Other LANDBANK field offices stationed in the building include the Property Valuation and Credit Information Department–Laguna, Laguna Accounting Center I, and the Field Legal Services of Laguna. The LANDBANK Laguna Corporate Center is situated in a less congested portion of the Sta. Cruz National Highway, and features a roomy interior and ample parking space to ensure a comfortable banking experience for customers. LANDBANK currently operates a total of 19 branches and one lending center in Laguna, complemented by 86 automated teller machines (ATMs), and 17 Agent Banking Partners that provide basic banking services on behalf of LANDBANK in the unbanked and underserved areas of the Province. LANDBANK is the only bank present in all 81 provinces in the Philippines, with plans for continued expansion focusing on servicing the requirements of its diverse customer base nationwide.LEARN MORE
LANDBANK Basco Branch new location allows wider support for Batanes
Batanes Vice Governor Ignacio C. Villa, LANDBANK Senior Vice President Ma. Belma T. Turla, and other local government officials welcome the LANDBANK Basco Branch to its new home at the Ground Floor of the Manpower Development Center and National Agencies Building, Provincial Capitol Compound, Brgy. Kayhuvokan, Basco, Batanes. BASCO, Batanes – The LANDBANK Basco Branch recently transferred to a new and more strategic location to provide better banking services to small farmers and fishers, cooperatives, micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), local government units (LGUs) and other customers in all six (6) municipalities and 29 barangays in Batanes. From its former location at Santana Street in Barangay Kaychanarianan, the LANDBANK Basco Branch—the first and only LANDBANK Branch in the Province—officially transferred to the Provincial Capitol Compound in Barangay Kayhuvokan at the heart of the 5th class Municipality. “Through the LANDBANK Basco Branch, we will continue to intensify our support for the development requirements of Batanes. We are one with the Provincial Government in advancing inclusive and sustainable growth in the province,” said LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo. Batanes Vice Governor Ignacio C. Villa and LANDBANK Senior Vice President Ma. Belma T. Turla led the inauguration of the Branch in its new location on 06 June 2022. They were joined by Mahatao Mayor Pedro F. Poncio, Ivana Mayor Leonardo V. Hostallero, Itbayat Mayor Ronald V. Gutierrez, Sabtang Mayor Marcial Armando A. Alavado, Basco Vice Mayor German A. Caccam and LANDBANK Basco Branch Head Joseph L. Caliguiran. The LANDBANK Basco Branch will also cater to almost 1,500 beneficiaries of the Conditional and Unconditional Cash Transfer (CCT/UCT) Programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), with two (2) Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and one (1) Cash Deposit Machine onsite. LANDBANK also has three (3) Agent Banking Partners (ABP) covering the neighboring Municipalities of Sabtang, Itbayat, Uyugan, and Ivana to facilitate point-of-sale (POS) cash-out services on behalf of the Bank. Opening of deposit accounts in the LANDBANK Basco Branch is also made easier and more convenient with the Bank’s Digital Onboarding System (DOBS), which reduces account opening time to 15 minutes or less. “Sana ay ipagpatuloy ng LANDBANK ang suporta sa SMEs, farmers and fishermen, para sa tuloy-tuloy na pagpapaunlad ng ating kanayunan,” said Basco Vice Mayor German A. Caccam. The relocation of LANDBANK Basco Branch follows the recent inauguration of the new LANDBANK Real Branch in the Province of Quezon, the latest addition to the Bank’s network of 607 branches and 58 lending centers. The continued expansion of LANDBANK’s physical touchpoints underscores the Bank’s commitment of bringing banking services closer to unbanked and underserved areas nationwide, as part of its intensified efforts in advancing financial inclusion and in serving the nation.LEARN MORE