Landbank commits to double lending assistance to Cotabato

Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) - August 11, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — State-run Land Bank of the Philippines has committed to more than double the number of farmers it will assist from the province of Cotabato as part of efforts to intensify support to the agriculture sector.

Landbank president and chief executive officer Cecilia Borromeo said the bank would increase the number of its beneficiaries from Cotabato to 70,000 farmers from the current 30,000 it is servicing.

Borromeo, who made the announcement during a recent caravan in Kidapawan City, said Landbank would expand coverage by going directly to individual farmers and fishers, including those engaged in micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

“As we push forward with our aggressive thrust to promote greater financial inclusion, Landbank is continuously banking on partnerships with LGUs (local government units) to bring financial services closer to more unbanked and underserved Filipinos. We hope to replicate this event in other provinces,” Borromeo said.

During the event, Landbank informed farmers about the Accessible Funds for Delivery to Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (AFFORD-ARBs), a direct lending program which caters to individual ARBs engaged in the production of rice, corn and high value crops, as well as the acquisition of small farm implements, such as hand tractors.

Also discussed was the Socialized Credit Program under the Sugarcane Industry Development Act (SCP-SIDA), a tie-up with the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) that aims to provide financial assistance to sugarcane farmers, block farms, planters’ cooperatives and service centers.

Landbank also presented the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF), another lending facility for farmers, fishers, MSMEs, cooperatives and associations for the acquisition and establishment of production, post-harvest, and processing machineries; equipment and facilities and farm inputs and improvements.

Landbank is currently the biggest credit provider to small farmers and fishers, and the biggest lender to LGUs and MSMEs among government financial institutions.

As of the end of June, loans extended to the agriculture sector reached P219.63 billion, equivalent to 27.45 percent of the bank’s total loan portfolio amounting to P799.64 billion.

This makes Landbank compliant to  the Agri-Agra Credit Law, which mandates banks to allot 25 percent of their total loanable funds to agriculture and fisheries.

As a result of its aggressive lending activities, Landbank reported a 35.8 percent jump in net income to P10.58 billion in the first half.  This figure also exceeded the bank’s P8.32 billion target for the period by 27.16 percent.

Landbank’s assets likewise went up by 7.1 percent to P1.81 trillion. Total deposits increased by six percent to P1.59 trillion.

During his State of the Nation Address last month, President Duterte called on Landbank to boost its lending to the farm sector.

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