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Landbank says loans to rice farmers reach P2.5B

Landbank has released P2.5 billion worth of credit assistance to rice farmers since 2019.

State-run Land Bank of the Philippines said Tuesday it has released P2.5 billion worth of credit assistance to rice farmers since 2019.

In a news release, Landbank said that the amount was released through the Expanded Rice Credit Assistance under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ERCA-RCEF).

The ERCA-RCEF forms part of the RCEF, a P10 billion annual allocation for six years created under the Rice Tariffication Law. 

It is a P1 billion allocation shared equally by Landbank and Development Bank of the Philippines at P500 million each per year to provide credit assistance to small rice farmers.

Landbank said it has been successful in fully disbursing the P500 million allocated annual fund under ERCA-RCEF from 2019 to 2023. 

The ERCA-RCEF Program allows individual rice farmers to borrow up to 90% of their total project cost at a low fixed interest rate of 2% per year. 

"Landbank’s support to the agriculture sector is crucial to ensuring food security in the country. We are committed to providing continued financial assistance to our rice farmers to help them sustain their operations and improve productivity, especially in the face of challenges including the El Niño phenomenon," said Landbank president and CEO Lynette Ortiz.

The state-run lender said the P2.5 billion loans released under ERCA-RCEF benefitted over 15,400 individual rice farmers and 270 cooperatives with more than 21,300 member-beneficiaries, which were channeled to support palay production, milling and trading, re-lending, and acquisition of farm machineries. 

Landbank said 98% of direct borrowers under the program are individual rice farmers.

The bank said the majority of the loan borrowers came from the rice producing provinces of Region II, particularly Cagayan, Nueva Vizcaya, and Quirino, assisting 4,945 borrowers for a total of P612.4 million in loans released. 

This was followed by Region III with 2,243 borrowers for total loan releases amounting to P840.3 million.

The state-run lender added that it has also extended assistance to rice farmers in Visayas and Mindanao, including the provinces of Capiz, Leyte, Agusan del Sur, Bukidnon, North Cotabato, and Zamboanga del Sur. —VAL, GMA Integrated News