FARM financing platform Cropital said it hopes to release up to P100 million in loans by the end of 2019, which will bring its farmer beneficiaries to about 2,500.

“Right now, we are about 1,300 to 1,400 loans. This year, we hope to end with 2,500 loans. I am hoping we reach… P85 million to P100 million by the end of the year,” Ruel T. Amparo, chief executive officer and co-founder of Cropital, told BusinessWorld in an interview.

In 2015, Mr. Amparo lent P100,000 of his own funds to relatives in Bulacan. Later on, he formed Cropital, a platform to bring together individual lenders and farmers. Lenders directly fund least one farmer at favorable interest rates.

Since the beginning of its operations, Mr. Amparo said the company has released P50 million worth of loans.

“Cropital is a financing platform enabling farmers to have access to affordable loans,” he said.

The company is active in Pangasinan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Batangas, Laguna, Bohol, and Leyte. It has financed 746 farmers and is currently focusing on rice farmers, while starting to branch out to corn farmers.

The typical loan size is about P20,000 to P30,000 per harvest season, at an interest rate of 2%, against 20% usually charged by informal lenders. The platform can provide cash or inputs such as seed or fertilizer.

He said rice farmers even if they delay payments can usually make up for it by the next harvest.

He said that the company is willing to work with the government in order to help it tap more farmers.

“One thing na (that) we feel we’re strong at is our ability to reach to farmer groups and our ability to reach to farmers and engage them, and so far I can say there is high retention rate. Once the farmer starts with us, they stick with us… They really see the value of just one call away (from financing) if they request it,” he said.