STATE-LED Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) has guaranteed local coconut and coffee farmers that lending programs are ready to help boost their production and incomes.

LANDBANK President Cecilia C. Borromeo said in a statement they are prepared to provide assistance to industry stakeholders via existing credit assistance initiatives with low interest rates.

One loan program farmers can avail of is the Coconut Production and Processing Financing Program, under which LANDBANK offers credit assistance to those involved in the production and processing of coconut-based products.

Meanwhile, stakeholders engaged in high-value crop production such as coffee, abaca, banana, cacao and rubber can avail of credit support from LANDBANK through the Sulong Saka program or High-Value Crops Financing Program.

LANDBANK said the two lending programs can also be availed by individual small farm holders, small and medium enterprises, local government units and farmers’ cooperatives and association, among others.

“Eligible borrowers may apply for a loan under these programs with an affordable interest based on prevailing market benchmark rate,” it said.

Loans by smallholder farmers will have a 5% interest rate per annum to fund their coconut and coffee production, while payment will be based on a crop cycle and payback period.

A tenor of three years will be provided for permanent working capital while one year is allotted for working capital.

“The tenor for fixed asset acquisition is based on project cash flow but not more than the economic useful life of fixed assets or remaining useful life for second hand or refurbished machines,” LANDBANK said.

Meanwhile, Ms. Borromeo encouraged the creation of coconut-based farming systems and the adoption of coconut-coffee intercropping for additional farmer income.

Coconut-based farming involves the planting of high-value crops such as coffee and vegetables under the coconuts.

“We fully agree that a coconut-based farming system will increase productivity and farmers’ income, and promote value-adding operation. We also support promoting the adoption of coconut-coffee intercrop,” Ms. Borromeo said.

“Aside from the technical requirement for shade to young coffee plants, this production model will lead to increased land productivity and farmers’ income,” she added. — R.M.D. Ochave