Landbank earmarks P5 billion for agrarian beneficiaries
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - October 16, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Government-owned Land Bank of the Philippines is allocating P5 billion for the country’s agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs).

Landbank recently inked a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Agrarian Reform to jumpstart the Accessible Funds for Delivery to Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (AFFORD-ARBs) lending program.

The loan facility can be availed by ARBs to finance the production of rice, corn, and high-value crops, as well as the acquisition of small farm implements.

Landbank said it would focus on lending to individual ARBs identified through a list to be provided by DAR and Landbank Agrarian Services Group.

The bank will also provide technical assistance to the ARB-borrowers through loan orientation and financial literacy seminars.

“The farmers must be given the special treatment they deserve. This will empower them to support their families, and at the same time, to be competent in their respective agriculture fields,” DAR Secretary John Castriciones said.

“By being able to identify the ARBs that we need to target, we are able to focus our efforts and provide the appropriate financing and technical support,” Landbank president and chief executive officer Cecilia Borromeo said.

As part of Landbank’s efforts to ensure that its services are more accessible to farmers and fishers, it has implemented improvements in its direct lending programs, including the AFFORD-ARBs, such as simplifying the loan application process, as well as lowering of interest rates, among others.

Specific enhancements include shorter loan application forms and less documentary requirements, and a fixed interest rate of five percent per annum for AFFORD-ARBs, from the previous six percent for short-term loans and seven percent for long-term loans.

As of August, Landbank had released over P74 million in loans to more than 300 borrowers under the AFFORD-ARBs Program.

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