THE Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) said it has approved P17.4 billion in loans so far this year for producers of high-value crops.

“LANDBANK aims to promote the diversification of crop yields of our farmers alongside ensuring food security. We will continue to support the production of high-value crops through accessible and responsive credit assistance,” LANDBANK President and Chief Executive Cecilia C. Borromeo said in a statement.

LANDBANK did not provide details on the period when the loans were approved.

The loans will be allocated to 1,220 borrowers to support production of highland and lowland vegetables, fruit, as well as industrial crops including abaca and bamboo.

Spices, legumes, and alternative food staple crops such as soybean and root crops are also supported by the lending program.

“Aside from increased high-value crop production, farmers can avail of loans under the program to finance related projects such as the establishment of nurseries and budwood or mother and plant or parent clone gardens, as well as for the establishment of new plantations, and the replanting, rejuvenation and rehabilitation of old trees,” LANDBANK said.

The bank’s financial support extends to post-harvest activities such as fermentation and drying, including roasting, grinding, milling, packaging, and storage. Trading and export activities are also eligible.

“Individual small farm holders may borrow up to 90% for a production loan, while a maximum of 80% may be borrowed by small and medium enterprises (SMEs), cooperatives, farmers associations and organizations, large agribusiness enterprises and corporations, non-government organizations (NGOs) and countryside financial institutions (CFIs),” it added.

The program can also finance up to 80% and 85% of the total project cost for the acquisition of fixed assets and commodity loans, respectively. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson