State-lender Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) is on track to hit its target on agriculture sector loans for this year in line with President Duterte’s order to intensify its support to local farmers.
In a report submitted to the Department of Finance, Cecilia Borromeo, Landbank president and chief executive, said they have extended P230.23 billion in loans to the agriculture sector at end-October, equivalent to 94 percent of its target of P245 billion for 2020.
Borromeo said the bank has assisted over 2.5 million farmers and fishers folks through soft loans, subsidies and training programs, which is well above its target of two million individuals.
Of the loan releases, about two-thirds or P145.86 billion went to small, medium and large agribusinesses enterprises, the Landbank chief said.
Land bank also provided P35.66 billion financing for small farmers, fisherfolk and the agri-aqua related projects of local government units (LGUs) and P48.71 billion to government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs).
Small farmers and fishers borrowed a total of P1.36 billion through direct lending, while loans to conduits such as cooperatives and farmers’ associations, rural financial institutions and other lending mechanisms reached P34.3 billion.
In the first 10-months, Landbank has also provided P8.31 billion in loans through programs it has been administering for the Department of Agriculture (DA), such as the those under Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF), among others.
For programs that Landbank has been administering for the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), the lender has provided P65 million as of October.
From about 1.3 million farmers and fishers in April, the Landbank cumulatively increased the number of rural folk it has assisted to 2.5 million in October, exceeding its two million target.
Of that number, 716,931 small farmers were assisted through the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance and Financial Subsidy to Rice Farmers programs of the DA.
Through the LandBank Countryside Development Foundation, the financial institution was also able to train 67,789 farmers in unbanked municipalities to help improve their financial literacy, Borromeo said.
In terms of economic activity, the support to the agriculture sector through loans for the construction of irrigation systems and post-harvest facilities accounted for P99.48 billion or 43 percent of the P230.23 billion in lending to this sector.