OUTSTANDING LOANS made to the agriculture sector totaled P229.70 billion at the end of March, the Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) said.

LANDBANK said in a statement Monday that small, medium and large agribusiness enterprises accounted for P143.11 billion of the total; followed by agri-aqua related projects of local government units and government-owned and-controlled corporations at P50.32 billion; loans to small farmers and fishers, cooperatives, and rural financial institutions amounted to P36.27 billion.

Relative to the overall banking industry, LANDBANK cited a Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas estimate that total loans extended by universal and commercial banks to agriculture, forestry, and fishing borrowers fell 6.1% year on year in February, LANDBANK said.

“LANDBANK has assisted cumulatively 2.70 million farmers and fishers nationwide as of end-March, recording increases of 14,147 beneficiaries from February and 25,990 for the first three months of the year,” it added.

Recently, LANDBANK increased its loan facility to hog raisers and feed millers to P30 billion, from P15 billion previously. The funds will be used to boost hog repopulation initiatives and address the impact of the African Swine Fever outbreak.

The loans will be available to commercial hog raisers registered as cooperatives or farmer associations, small and medium enterprises, and large enterprises or corporations.

LANDBANK President and Chief Executive Officer Cecilia C. Borromeo told stakeholders during a consultation session on April 22 that the bank will continue to address credit-access issues faced by its clients during the pandemic. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave