P12-B loans for high-value crops released

Published September 15, 2020, 3:48 PM

by Madelaine B. Miraflor

The amount of loans disbursed by state-owned Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) for its high-value crops financing now stood at nearly P12 billion, borrowed mainly by oil palm and banana growers.

In a statement, LANDBANK said it has so far released a total of P11.93 billion in loans under the Sulong Saka Program or High-Value Crops Financing as of July 31.

A significant portion, or P3.45 billion of these loans were released to support projects in the production of oil palm, followed by projects financed in the production of banana and other fruits, with corresponding P1.88 billion and P1.35 billion loan releases, respectively.

According to LANDBANK, a total of 992 borrowers from 72 provinces across the country have availed of the Sulong Saka loan program.

Of these borrowers, 421 are Small Farmers and Fishers (SFFs), 302 are cooperatives, 183 are Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), and the remaining 86 are Countryside Financial Institutions (CFIs), Large Agribusiness Enterprises (LAEs)/corporations, associations, Microfinance Institutions (MFIs), Local Government Units (LGUs), Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCC), and Financial Institutions (FIs).  

The LANDBANK Sulong Saka Program, which was launched in December last year, was designed to promote wider crop diversification, particularly for high-value crops such as banana, cacao, cassava, coffee, oil palm, rubber, and vegetables, among others.

“Crop diversity is essential to attain local food security, especially during this health crisis,” said LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo.

“Through the LANDBANK Sulong Saka Program, we see that more and more farmers are being encouraged to engage in the production of high-value commodities, helping the country attain food security,” he added.

Aside from promoting crop production, the program also supports projects that involve the processing and marketing of high-value crops.

Eligible borrowers can apply for the establishment of nursery, budwood or mother and plant or parent clone gardens; new plantation, replanting, rejuvenation, and rehabilitation of old trees; post-harvest activities, and processing or manufacturing; as well as trading and export activities.

Under the Sulong Saka Program, small farm holders may apply for loans with an affordable interest rate of 5 percent per annum. For other eligible borrowers, however, interest is based on prevailing market benchmark rate.

Production loans under the program are payable based on crop cycle or gestation and payback period of the project.

Meanwhile, tenor for fixed asset acquisition is based on project cash flow but not more than the economic useful life of fixed assets or remaining useful life for second hand or refurbished machines.

For permanent working capital and working capital, tenor of up to three years and one year, respectively, is provided.

Interested borrowers of the LANDBANK Sulong Saka Program may contact the nearest open LANDBANK Lending Center or Branch nationwide.