Landbank jacking up lending to farm sector
State-owned Land Bank of the Philippines has set aside P5 billion of its funds to intensify direct lending programs for agrarian reform beneficiaries as the agriculture sector aims to increase its contribution to the country’s economic growth this year.
Landbank’s new credit and enterprise programs are seen to supplement the Department of Agriculture’s “catch-up plan” to raise the farm sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product to at least 3 percent after registering an anemic performance last year.
Landbank has launched Afford-ARBs (agrarian reform beneficiaries) to specifically cater to ARBs engaged in corn, rice and high-value crops production. Loans under the program come with an annual interest rate of 6 percent and 7 percent for short-term and long-term loans, respectively.
It has also launched Embrace (Empowering Barangays in Remote Areas through Credit and Enterprise Program), which offers loans to microenterprises.
Landbank’s loans to the farm sector reached P172 billion or 24 percent of the bank’s total loan portfolio for priority sectors in the first quarter of the year, and the number is expected to swell throughout the year.
The DA is aiming at a 3.5-percent growth in agriculture production this year. It believes that expanding credit access is important in achieving this goal. The last time it was able to hit that range was in 2017 when farm production grew by 3.95 percent.