State-owned Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) continued to intensify its support to the agriculture sector as it introduced seven (7) new agri-lending programs which include programs initiated by the Department of Agriculture (DA) as a direct response to the rice crisis.
“All these new lending facilities, along with the other existing programs, will help address the specific requirements of the various players in the agriculture sector,” said LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo.
The first special lending program launched in 2019 was the P10-billion PAlay aLAY sa Magsasaka ng Lalawigan (PALAY ng Lalawigan) Program to assist rice-producing provinces by enabling local government units (LGUs) to procure palay produced by their local farmers, as well as to acquire farm machineries and post-harvest facilities. Last year, a total of P3.2 billion in loans was approved for the Provinces of Isabela, Nueva Ecija and Camarines Sur.
The second loan program was the Expanded Survival and Recovery Assistance Program for Rice Farmers (SURE Aid Program) under the DA, which extended credit assistance to small farmers tilling one (1) hectare of land and below. Under the Program, a total of P2.07 billion in loans were provided as immediate financial assistance to 136,648 farmers nationwide.
The DA and LANDBANK also launched the Rice Farmer Financial Assistance (RFFA) Program, an unconditional cash transfer program which aims to give P5,000 financial assistance each to rice farmers tilling 0.5 to 2 hectares of land in 33 provinces nationwide.
As of February 3, 2020, a total of 5,822 LANDBANK Cash Cards totalling more than P29 million in cash assistance have been distributed to rice farmers in Pangasinan, Ilocos Norte, Nueva Ecija, Zamboanga del Sur, North Cotabato, Bataan and Pampanga.
LANDBANK also partnered with the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to introduce the Accessible Funds for Delivery to Agrarian Reform Benefeciaries (AFFORD-ARBs) Program which provided loans to finance the production of rice, corn, high-value crops, as well as farm implements. Outstanding loans for this Program in 2019 reached P100.86 million, which was availed by 523 farmer-borrowers and a cooperative.
The three (3) other new programs recently launched by the Bank are the Sulong Saka Program promoting high value crops production, the Sustainable Aquaculture Lending Program (SALP) to finance projects within the value chain of fishery, mariculture and aquaculture, and the Greenhouse Farming System Financing Program to help farmers, cooperatives and agri-entrepreneurs shift to modern farming by adopting the greenhouse farming technology.