State-run banks to expand credit program for agribusiness

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. revealed the readiness of state-run banks Landbank and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) to expand their credit coverages to agriculture.

In photo are: (from left to right) Usec. Leocadio Sebastian, Undersecretary for Rice Development of the Department of Agriculture (DA); Dir. Glen Panganiban, Director of High Value Crops Development Program of the DA; Rowena Sadicon, President of Philippine Rice Industry Stakeholders Movement; Kais  Marzouki, Chairman and CEO of Nestlé Philippines; Christian Moeller, CEO and Co-Founder of Lionheart Farms; Michael Tan, President of LT Group, Inc.; Irwin Ang, Senior Vice President for Growing Operations of Universal Leaf Philippines Inc.; Michelle Gankee, Exec. Vice President of SL Agritech - Sterling Group of Companies; Dr. William Dar, Senior Adviser of Go Negosyo for Kapatid Angat Lahat Agri Program (KALAP); Joey Concepcion, Founder of Go Negosyo; President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., President of the Republic of the Philippines; Simon  Bakker, CEO of Kennemer Foods International; James  Amparo, CEO of Yovel East Agriventures; Fernando Cojuangco, President & COO of Central Azucarera De Tarlac; Jovy  Hernandez, President and CEO of Metro Pacific Agro Ventures; Carl Benedick Chung, SVP of Bounty Group; Stephanie Nicole Sarmiento-Garcia, Executive Vice President of Vitarich Corporation; Admin. Belinda Sarmiento-Sanchez, Administrator and CEO of National Tobacco Administration; Commissioner Gaspar Cayat, Commissioner of National Commission on Indigenous Peoples; and Atty.  Lucius Jun-Jun Malsi, OIC Administrator and Deputy Admin of Philippine Coconut Authority. (Photo from Go Negosyo)

He shared this with Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion, big-brother agriculture companies, and relevant government agencies when he met with them on Tuesday, April 25, at the Malacañang Palace.

The meeting took place to give the Chief Executive an update on Go Negosyo’s Kapatid Angat Lahat Agri Program (KALAP).

“The President, for his part, assured the group during the meeting that he will look into each industry concern in detail separately,” a statement from Go Negosyo said.

The President made such assurances after the group discussed with him the need for interventions in ensuring that farmers get access to credit, an issue that cropped up after earlier consultations with banks and financial institutions on agriculture lending.

“KALAP needs scale. The five hectares that the small farmers have now is not competitive. At the same time, banks can’t lend to them because the lands cannot be collateralized per agrarian reform law,” Concepcion said in an interview.

“While right now, there are workarounds by the big-brother companies as they work with groups of small farmers, we need to think about longer term solutions,” he added.

Marcos also vowed to look into the use of digitalization in farm management as started by Universal Leaf Philippines (ULPI) in the tobacco industry.

This was after ULPI President Winston Uy shared during the meeting the technology they use in tobacco farming, and his intention to share it with other big-brother companies as one of the tools they can use under KALAP.

Other big-brother companies also presented to the President their models that can be used for KALAP.

Aside from Uy, there was James Amparo, who shared Yovel East’s model for rice farming, Christian Moeller for coconut, Simon Bakker for cacao, Kais Marzouki for coffee, and Nando Cojuangco for sugar.

Under the Kalap program, which is a public-private sector initiative that aims to bridge small farmers and large agribusiness companies, small farmers would be incorporated into the value chain of large agribusiness companies or big-brother companies.