LANDBANK lends P62.5B to nearly 1M small farmers, fishers in 2017, strengthens direct lending

Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Land Bank of the Philippines remained aggressive in channeling support to small farmers, fishers, and their associations with loan releases amounting to P62.5 billion in 2017. These benefited 837,653 farmers and fishers from across the country.  

“We at LANDBANK are doubling our efforts in lending to the agriculture sector, especially farmers and fishers, to help increase their productivity and income,” said LANDBANK President and CEO Alex V. Buenaventura.

Apart from loans coursed through conduits such as farmers and fishers cooperatives, countryside financial institutions, and irrigators’ associations, LANDBANK is stepping up to expand its direct lending to farmers and fishers who are not members of accredited cooperatives and farmers organizations and are unable to access loans from formal lending institutions on their own.

SIKAT SAKA program

One such financing window is the Sikat Saka Program, a joint program of LANDBANK and the Department of Agriculture (DA), which provides direct credit to small palay and corn farmers who are members of irrigators associations and/or endorsed by farmers organizations.

In 2017, LANDBANK released P1.8 billion in loans under the Program. Cumulative loan releases amounted to P6.2 billion as of end-2017, which benefited 15,702 farmer-borrowers from all over the country.

The Program also offers integrated support services to the farmer beneficiaries in terms of free irrigation services, market support, and crop insurance subsidy, which improves the viability of palay and corn projects. The farmers are likewise trained on credit discipline and financial management to teach them how to save, pay loans on time, and better manage their finances.

AFFP

Meanwhile, for palay and corn farmers who are not covered by Sikat Saka, LANDBANK has another program especially designed for non-Agrarian Reform Beneficiary (ARB) small farmers and fishers in selected provinces in the country. Also a partnership with DA and the Agricultural Credit Policy Council, the Agriculture and Fisheries Financing Program (AFFP) is a flexible credit facility that provides agricultural loans to marginalized farmers and fishers who are registered in the DA’s Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture.

AFFP loan releases in 2017 amounted to Php 105.5 million, with cumulative loan releases reaching P436 million. These benefited 3,139 small farmers and fishers from across the country.

The program aims to further increase the productive capacity of small farmers and fishers in the priority provinces, raise their income, and contribute to the attainment of food self-sufficiency.

EMBRACE

To complement its partnership programs with DA and lending programs coursed through conduits, LANDBANK also launched in 2016 a loan facility to help address the financing needs of farmers, fishers, micro, and small enterprises in unserved areas across the country.

Dubbed as EMBRACE or Empowering Barangays in Remote Areas through Credit and Enterprise, the program has more relaxed features and requirements, and lower interest rates for farmers to engage in projects like agricultural crop, livestock, and fishery production; as well as agri-enterprise and other livelihood activities.

From January to December 2017, the Bank released P4.93 million in loans –with priority given to small farmers who are tilling not more than five hectares of agricultural land as well as small fishers who own or operate not more than three gross tons of fishing boat paraphernalia or fishpond owners or operators of not more than five hectares.

Cumulative loan releases reached P6.18 million in less than two years since the program was launched.

These retail lending programs are only among the wide array of services offered by LANDBANK, as it remains on the lookout for new programs and services to further expand its reach and provide greater financial and technical support to farmers and fishers across the country. It remains the biggest credit provider to small farmers and fishers and local government units, and the biggest lender to microenterprises and SMEs among government financial institutions.