MANILA – The Philippine Guarantee Corp. (PhilGuarantee) has provided guarantees to loans in the agriculture sector amounting to PHP3.5 billion in the first half of 2021, which is already 95 percent of the state firm’s target of PHP3.7 billion for the entire year. 
PhilGuarantee president and chief executive officer Alberto Pascual said the loans guaranteed through the firm’s partner-lending institutions (PLIs) have thus far benefited 35,360 small farmers and fisherfolk. 
Pascual said in his report to Finance Secretary and PhilGuarantee chairman Carlos Dominguez III that the crops sub-sector accounted for the bulk of the guaranteed loans, with PHP3.35 billion or 96 percent covered  the January to June period. 
“For second quarter 2021, guaranteed loans to the agriculture sector by 47 PLIs have already reached PHP3.499 billion, which is already 95 percent of the 2021 target of PHP3.675 billion, benefitting 35,360 small farmers and fisherfolk. The outstanding balance as of 30 June 2021 amounted to PHP1.247 billion,” Pascual said in his report. 
As the administrator of the Agricultural Guarantee Fund Pool (AGFP), PhilGuarantee encourages its PLIs to lend to small farmers and fisherfolk or their organizations by providing guarantee coverage to their unsecured agricultural production loans.
The livestock sub-sector came in second in terms of the guaranteed loans as of June of this year with borrowings amounting to PHP112.63 million, followed by fisheries with PHP27.86 million, and poultry with PHP12.03 million. 
“Since the beginning of the Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) crisis in March 2020, PhilGuarantee lost no time to enable its mandate and respond to the clarion call of the government to provide assistance to affected agri-based workers by way of its guarantee program,” Pascual said. 
He said last year, PhilGuarantee’s approved guarantee lines to 41 PLIs extending loans to the agriculture sector amounted to PHP5.14 billion, with guaranteed loans totaling PHP4.25 billion. 
“This amount is 21.4 percent beyond our goal of PHP3.5 billion and resulted in assisting 48,038 small farmers and fisherfolk nationwide. Outstanding balance as of 31 December 2020 amounted to PHP401.5 million,” Pascual added. 
During the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) period last year,  Pascual said the PhilGuarantee Governing Board approved the reduction of the rate of guarantee fee from 1 percent to 0.5 percent and the increase of the guarantee coverage from 85 percent to 90 percent  of the loan amount for palay farmers borrowing through the AGFP. 
These measures were effective from April 15 to July 15, 2020. (PR)