THE ASIAN Development Bank (ADB) and New Hope Singapore Private Ltd. (NHS) signed a $20-million loan agreement that will extend financing assistance to farmers in South and Southeast Asia, including the Philippines.

In a statement Tuesday, the bank said will provide additional working capital and fund the operating expenses of NHS projects in the Philippines, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

The ADB said the loans will be put to use in buying raw materials for animal feed, expand the payment terms and give bigger advances to the company’s beneficiaries, feed distributors and livestock farmers, and buy workers personal protective equipment.

NHS aims to supply animal feed and provide technical services to 200,000 poultry, aquaculture, and other livestock farmers in the region.

The bank will also extend technical assistance to NHS to help it train 7,200 female farmers in the Philippines and Bangladesh on best practices in climate-smart farming and accessing credit.

“Shortages of agricultural inputs such as animal feed will have a severe impact on food availability, prices, and poverty if pandemic-related restrictions persist especially in countries vulnerable to the economic impacts of COVID-19,” said Martin Lemoine, the head of the Agribusiness Investment Unit at ADB’s Private Sector Operations Department.

Mr. Lemoine said livestock plays an important role in ensuring food security, especially for small farmers who rely on it for income and as their source of food.

NHS is a Singapore holding firm for China agribusiness company New Hope Liuhe Co., Ltd. — Beatrice M. Laforga