Landbank increasing loans for agriculture to P350 B

Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) - August 9, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — State-run Land Bank of the Philippines is targeting to increase it loans to agriculture to P350 billion by 2022, in line with President Duterte’s directive for the bank to intensify its support to the sector.

In an interview with reporters, Landbank president and chief executive officer Cecilia Borromeo said the bank aims to multiply its lending assistance to the agriculture sector by around 15 percent annually from 2019 to 2022.

For 2019, she said Landbank’s agriculture loan portfolio is expected to grow to P231.25 billion from P222.06 billion in 2018, and continue to increase to P265 billion by 2020.

This is projected to further climb to P305 billion by 2021, and P350 billion by 2022.

At the same time, Borromeo said Landbank is also targeting to increase the number of farmers it assisted from 889,669 as of June 2019 to one million by the end of the year, two million by 2020, 2.5 million by 2021, and three million by 2022.

To achieve these targets, Borromeo said Landbank would triple the total funds available for direct lending to small farmers and fishers to P30 billion in 2020 from the current P9.3 billion allocation this year.

She said small farmers and fishermen, going forward, would get loans at an interest of five percent per annum, lower than the current rate of six percent.

“That’s our commitment to the borrowers in the agriculture sector,” Borromeo said. “We looked at the cost of our core deposit and our capital and we think that five percent is something we can manage. We will subsidize that from our other commercial loans.”

Borromeo said the bank would also endeavor to expand loan releases under programs administered by the Department of Agriculture (DA), such as the Agrarian Production Credit Program, Expanded Rice Credit Assistance, and the Socialized Credit Program for the sugar industry.

Borromeo said the bank would also double the number of lending officers and establish more lending centers in rural areas.

“We have 44 now, we are looking to increase that number to 50 in 2020 and we have initially identified three provinces. I already got approval from my board to open a lending center in Lanao Del Norte, and in Quirino. We’re working on the establishment of another lending center in Antique,” she said.

The bank’s rural branch network, meanwhile, is targeted to be increased by 40 percent, she said.

Landbank also committed to strengthen the capacity building services for farmers by increasing the allocation for the program to P100 million in 2020 from P30 million; and help the DA in updating the list of farmers registered under the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture.

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