January 29, 2021
Jasper Y. Arcalas (Business Mirror) | https://bit.ly/3oDFOmT
THE Land Bank of the Philippines said its total loan portfolio to agriculture in 2020 grew slightly to P237.62 billion from P236.31 billion in 2019.
The LandBank said the loan was tapped by 2.67 million farmers and fishermen by end-2020; more than its 2-million target beneficiaries for last year. According to the Department of Agriculture, of the 8.3 million agricultural workers in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture in 2012, 33 percent are registered as farm workers only; another 21 percent are registered as farm workers, while simultaneously working as farmers, fishers, or both. The remaining 46 percent are registered as farmers only.
The LandBank said of the P237.62 billion total outstanding loans, about P43.98 billion were tapped by small farmers and fishers, cooperatives and farmers’ associations, rural financial institutions and other conduits.
The LandBank added that small, medium and large agribusiness enterprises were granted P142.75 billion, while P50.89 billion was channeled to support agri-aqua related projects of local government units (LGUs) and government-owned and controlled corporations.
“The year 2020 was undoubtedly a challenging one, but LandBank remained steadfast in its commitment of delivering intensified support to the country’s agriculture sector,” Landbank President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo said in a statement last Thursday. “We will continue to address the specific requirements of more farmers, fishers, and other players in the local agribusiness value chain amid the pandemic and beyond.”
The LandBank said it assisted farmers and fishers through its regular loan offerings and lending programs jointly implemented with the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Agrarian Reform.
As of December 31 last year, the Landbank said it has released a total of P8.36 billion under the programs it has been administering for DA and P600 million for the DAR’s credit-assistance program.
DA programs that are being administered by Landbank include the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund, the Socialized Credit Program under the Sugarcane Industry Development Act, the Expanded Rice Credit Assistance under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund and the Survival and Recovery Assistance Program for Rice Farmers.