LandBank loans to rice farmers reach P2.2 billion

By Anna Leah Gonzales

September 24, 2023, 2:53 pm

<p><em>(PNA file photo)</em></p>

(PNA file photo)

MANILA – State-owned Land Bank of the Philippines (LandBank) has released PHP2.2 billion loans to rice farmers from January to July this year through the Expanded Rice Credit Assistance under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ERCA-RCEF).

In a statement on Sunday, LandBank said the amount was released to 13,701 rice farmers and cooperatives.

Of the total amount, PHP1.1 billion financed palay (unhusked rice) production of individual rice farmers listed under the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA), while PHP507.5 million was earmarked for re-lending of cooperatives to its members.

LandBank said PHP394.1 million was used for rice trading and milling while PHP222 million was allotted for the purchase of farm machinery and equipment.

“LandBank is doing its share to strengthen local rice production by providing accessible and responsive financial assistance to rice farmers. In partnership with the DA, the ERCA-RCEF program forms part of our commitment to advance the agriculture sector and empower Filipino farmers,” said LandBank president and chief executive officer Lynette Ortiz.

The ERCA-RCEF is a credit facility that aims to boost the productivity and income of small rice farmers and their cooperatives and cushion the initial impact of the Rice Tariffication Law.

The program allows individual rice farmers to borrow up to 90 percent of their total project cost at an interest rate of 2 percent per year.

The loan may be used to purchase farm inputs for rice and rice seed production, farm machinery and equipment for production and post-production, working capital for rice and seed trading, as well as re-lending and rediscounting of existing loans of small rice farmers listed under the DA’s RSBSA.

LandBank said it has fully disbursed the allocated fund for ERCA-RCEF from 2019 to 2022, and shall continue to make available PHP500 million in loans annually until 2024 to cooperatives and rice farmers registered under the RSBSA in the country’s 38 rice-producing provinces. (PNA)