Land Bank boosts farmers’, fishermen’s access to credit

on . Posted in DAR In The News
manila bulletinMore farmers and fisherfolk have been given direct access to credit, as the Land Bank of the Philippines further stepped up its efforts on lending to those who are not members of accredited cooperatives and are unable to secure loans from lending institutions on their own.
“By providing individual borrowers with direct access to credit, we eliminate the deterrents that get in the way of small farmers and fishers in need of financing and help increase their productivity and income,” Landbank president and CEO Gilda Pico said.

The Bank has continued to strengthen lending programs, particularly with the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

One such financing window is the Sikat Saka Program, which provides direct access to credit for small palay farmers who are members of Irrigators Associations.

Most of the country’s palay farmers have no access to formal credit and thus depend on informal lenders which charge exorbitant interest rates.

As of October this year, P2 billion in loans were released to 9,275 farmer-borrowers under Sikat Saka.

The Program also offers integrated support such as irrigation, training, market, extension and administrative services. The farmers are likewise trained on credit discipline and financial management to teach them how to save, pay loans on time, and better manage their finances.

Sikat Saka Program covers 45 major rice-producing provinces in the country.

Another lending program that the Bank implements with DA and DAR is the Agrarian Production Credit Program (APCP), which makes credit more accessible to Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Organizations (ARBOs) through their organizations. APCP is a transition credit program designed to help prepare ARBOs to become credit conduits of the Bank under the regular lending window.

As of October 2015, Landbank has so far released P1.7 billion in loans benefiting more than 25,000 ARBs nationwide. Agricultural projects funded include production of sugarcane, palay, corn, banana, cacao, pineapple and potato.

Landbank is also a partner of the DA, the Agricultural Credit Policy Council and the People’s Credit and Finance Corporation in implementing the Agriculture and Fisheries Financing Program (AFFP), a flexible credit facility that provides agricultural loans to marginalized farmers and fishers who are registered in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture.

Loan releases as of October this year amounted to P101.9 million, which benefited 1,028 small farmers and fishers from across the country.