Officials of state-owned Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) are targeting to grow agriculture-focused loans by 15 percent annually to help about three million farmers by the end of the Duterte administration in 2022.
Landbank President and CEO Cecilia Borromeo said they target agriculture loans to reach PHP265 billion by 2020, up from the PHP231.25 billion target this year, wherein they target to help one million farmers.
“It’s a consistent growth so by 2022, the portfolio of the bank to the agriculture sector will reached PHP350 billion and we should be able to assist at least three million farmers by then,” she said.
This, as President Rodrigo Duterte directed Landbank officials to extend more aid to farmers since this is among the bank’s mandate.
Borromeo said they currently have 44 lending centers around the country and they aim to increase this to 50 centers by 2020.
She explained that the bank’s Board of Directors has approved the opening of new lending centers in Lanao del Norte, Quirino Province and in Antique.
She stressed that the bank is very compliant with the Agri-Agra law, with 27 percent of the total loans amounting to PHP222 billion currently allocated to the agriculture sector.
“We will, at the very least, maintain that share in the agriculture sector. It can be more depending on the economy,” she said.
Under Agri-Agra law, banks are required to allocate 10 percent of their funds for agrarian reform credit (Agra) and 15 percent for other agricultural credit (Agri).
The Landbank chief added that “if there will be a slowdown in other sectors, then the share of the agriculture sectors will increase.”
In the first half of the year, the bank extended PHP744.5 billion worth of loans to the priority sector, about 93.1 percent of total loans.
Loans extended to small farmers amounted to 42.31 billion, while PHP14 billion was extended to small fishers and their associations.
Loans extended for the support of the agriculture and fisheries sector totaled to PHP177.32 billion while loans that support the national government’s priority programs, including infrastructure projects, reached PHP524.86 billion. PNA