LAND BANK of the Philippines (LANDBANK) said it disbursed P755.11 billion in agricultural loans in 2023.

This represented 51% of the state-run lender’s overall lending for the year, the bank said in a statement on Monday.

Loans to the agriculture and fisheries sectors by the end of the year represented a 23% rise from lending levels as of the third quarter.

“As LANDBANK’s role in nation-building continues to expand, our commitment to advancing countryside development has remained steadfast. Through accessible financing and support interventions, we are empowering communities and enriching lives, while boosting the National Government’s inclusive and sustainable development agenda,” LANDBANK President and Chief Executive Officer Lynette V. Ortiz said.

Some P255.2 billion of the loans went to supporting rural infrastructure like public markets, highways, and transport systems, LANDBANK said.

Meanwhile, P186.3 billion financed sustainable projects for climate change mitigation and to promote responsible resource management.

“In support of agriculture and fisheries production, LANDBANK provided P118.1 billion for the processing of fisheries and agri-based products, and farm inputs,” the bank added.

For projects modernizing farming practices and business processes, LANDBANK released P70 billion, while off-farm and fishery entrepreneurship programs received P61.6 billion.

The lender also disbursed P43.4 billion for projects promoting the health and wellness of agricultural workers and their beneficiaries.

“The rest of LANDBANK’s AFRD financing covers various aspects of the agri value chain, including marketing, processing, distribution, shipping and logistics, storage of agricultural and fishery commodities, construction, acquisition and repair of facilities, agri-tourism, and agricultural mechanization, among others,” LANDBANK said.

The bank forecasts agricultural loans to hit P825 billion this year amid growing demand for public rural infrastructure and sustainable green projects.

LANDBANK reported 2023 net profit growth of 34% to P40.3 billion. — Aaron Michael C. Sy