LANDBANK loans from RCEF top P2.5 billion at end of April 

LAND BANK of the Philippines (LANDBANK) said that it released loans worth P2.5 billion as of April 30 to rice farmers and cooperatives, with the loans backed by the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).

In a statement, LANDBANK said the loans were part of RCEF’s Expanded Rice Credit Assistance program.

The bank said that loans were issued to 15,400 individual rice farmers and 270 cooperatives with more than 21,300 members.

Loans were used to fund palay (unmilled rice) production, milling and trading, re-lending, and acquisition of farm machinery.

“Under the program, 98% of LANDBANK’s direct borrowers are individual rice farmers,” it said.

The bulk of the borrowers were from the rice producing provinces of Cagayan, Nueva Vizcaya, and Quirino.

Loads were also disbursed to farmers from Capiz, Leyte, Agusan del Sur, Bukidnon, North Cotabato, and Zamboanga del Sur.

LANDBANK President and Chief Executive Officer Lynette V. Ortiz said that the bank’s loans help “support to the agriculture sector (which) is crucial in ensuring food security.”

“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 El Niño,” Ms. Ortiz added.

The government allocates 10% of RCEF funding towards credit assistance to rice farmers.

RCEF is a component of the Rice Tariffication Law of 2019, which liberalized rice imports but required importers to pay a 35% tariff on their shipments. The tariffs generated in turn provide funding worth P10 billion a year to RCEF. — Adrian H. Halili