STATE-RUN Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) extended a P645-million loan to Hijo Superfoods, Inc. (HSI) to boost the local manufacturer’s coconut sugar and banana flour production for export.

In a statement on Wednesday, DBP President and CEO Emmanuel G. Herbosa said the loan will fund the company’s “Project Honeycomb” that will beef up the production of these export products to nine metric tons (MT) each day from 12 MT per month, previously.

The project aims to use advanced technology and machineries to ramp up production, the lender said.

“DBP has always been supportive of the initiatives of our local industries that benefit not just the local community, but promote the country as well through their world-class products,” Mr. Herbosa was quoted as saying.

The company plans to ship these products to export markets, which could generate them over $10 million in gross income, said DBP Senior Vice-President for Southern and Western Mindanao Lending Group Ana Marie E. Veloso in the same statement.

Producing banana flour is a start-up initiative for the company that uses bananas sourced from HSI’s own farms and other firms.

Ms. Veloso said the project will help the livelihood of local coconut farmers to be more sustainable against the highly volatile prices of copra in the external market.

“On another note, the products of Hijo are also considered as healthier alternatives to regular processed sugar thereby contributing immensely to the nation’s efforts to combat and control non-communicable diseases such as diabetes,” she added.

The state-run lender saw its loan portfolio rose by 14% year on year to P374.85 billion in the nine months to September last year.

However, its net income went down by 26.69% to P3.24 billion after setting aside higher provisioning for expected credit losses amid the pandemic-induced recession.

DBP was the ninth-largest bank in the country with total assets of P761.5 billion in 2019.

Its focus is extending credit financing for infrastructure and logistics; micro, small and medium enterprises; social services and community development; and as well as the environment. — Beatrice M. Laforga