State-run lender Land Bank of the Philippines and the Department of Agriculture (DA) on Wednesday launched a lending program to help hog raisers increase their production and recover from the African wine fever (ASF) crisis.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar and Landbank president Cecilia Borromeo signed a memorandum of agreement to jointly implement the SWINE or Special Window and Interim Support to Nurture Hog Enterprises lending program.
Under the program, Landbank has earmarked P15 billion worth of loanable funds to be extended to commercial hog raisers registered as cooperatives or farmers’ associations, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and large enterprises or corporations.
“Landbank is supporting the Department of Agriculture by extending financing support to hog enterprises to sustain their operations and pork supply during this difficult time. Through the Landbank SWINE lending program, we aim to respond to the recovery requirements of our hog industry and contribute to ensuring food security,” Borromeo said.
The Philippines has been grappling with the ASF since 2019, which resulted in the decimation of some four million pigs in the total swine population in the country.
The decline in hog production caused tight supplies, which caused pork prices to jack up to as high as P400 per kilo in Metro Manila last January. This also prompted the government to impose a 60-day price ceiling for pork.
With the SWINE lending program, Dar said the DA is hoping to accelerate the revival of the hog industry.
The lending program is in line with the DA’s hog repopulation plan.
“The interest of the hog industry is the primary interest of the Department of Agriculture. Its recovery and the repopulation program are the main strategies to make it possible that we can accelerate the revival of the hog industry,” the Agriculture chief said.
Loans under the SWINE lending program shall be used for swine production, which includes the acquisition or importation of semen or breeding animals; feed milling operations; the construction, improvement or retrofitting of necessary facilities that are compliant to biosecurity protocols of DA, the industry or integrators; acquisition of fixed assets; and as working capital.
Eligible borrowers may avail of a short-term loan for up to 80% of their total project cost or financing requirement, with a fixed interest rate of 3% per annum for three years, subject to annual repricing thereafter.
Under the program, short-term loans have a tenor of one year, term loan for permanent working capital is payable up to five years, while fixed asset acquisition is payable based on the cash flow or payback period of the project, with grace period on the principal and interest.
The DA, for its part, will provide the list of eligible program borrowers and assist them in the preparation of a business plan, enrollment in the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC), and in securing necessary permits.
The DA will also provide loan recipients with training on biosecurity management and breeding or rearing of hogs, while engaging the services of different organizations in capability building and implementation of biosecurity protocols.
Landbank, meanwhile, will accept and evaluate loan applications of eligible borrowers and facilitate the release of loan proceeds.
The bank will also monitor the performance of the program and provide monthly reports to DA.
The SWINE lending program will be available until December 31, 2026. -NB, GMA News