Boosting Rice Farming Across the Philippines
In a significant effort to support rice farmers in the Philippines, the state-owned Land Bank of the Philippines (LandBank) has disbursed PHP2.2 billion in loans from January to July this year.
These funds were allocated through the Expanded Rice Credit Assistance under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ERCA-RCEF), making a substantial impact on the country’s agriculture sector.
Empowering Thousands of Rice Farmers
LandBank’s financial support reached a total of 13,701 rice farmers and cooperatives. Of this substantial sum, LandBank directed PHP1.1 billion to support individual rice farmers enrolled in the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) for palay (unhusked rice) production.
Furthermore, LandBank allocated PHP507.5 million to empower cooperatives to extend loans to their members.
Fueling the Rice Industry
A portion of the funds, amounting to PHP394.1 million, played a pivotal role in rice trading and milling activities. Another PHP222 million was earmarked for the purchase of essential farm machinery and equipment, further enhancing the rice production process across the country.
Commitment to Agriculture Advancement
LandBank’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Lynette Ortiz, expressed the bank’s commitment to bolstering local rice production and supporting Filipino farmers. She stated,
“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.”
ERCA-RCEF: A Lifeline for Rice Farmers
The ERCA-RCEF program serves as a vital credit facility designed to enhance the productivity and income of small rice farmers and their cooperatives. It also serves to mitigate the initial impact of the Rice Tariffication Law. Under this program, individual rice farmers can secure loans of up to 90 percent of their total project cost at a modest interest rate of 2 percent per year.
These loans enable farmers to use them for various purposes, such as buying farm inputs for rice and rice seed production, acquiring farm machinery and equipment for both production and post-production activities, obtaining working capital for rice and seed trading, and facilitating re-lending and rediscounting of their existing loans under the DA’s RSBSA for small rice farmers.
A Long-Term Commitment
LandBank of the Philippines proudly declared that it had fully disbursed the allocated funds for ERCA-RCEF from 2019 to 2022, illustrating its steadfast support for Filipino farmers. Moreover, the bank affirmed its commitment to providing PHP500 million in loans annually until 2024.
These funds will continue to benefit cooperatives and rice farmers registered under the DA’s RSBSA in the 38 rice-producing provinces of the Philippines.