The Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK), together with the Department Agriculture (DA), is rolling-out a new lending program that would assist local government units (LGUs) purchase palay produced by local farmers to help cushion the effects of the drop in the price of palay in some regions, which the DA said may also be caused by hoarding or stockpiling by some rice traders.
In a media briefing held at the Bank’s head office in Malate, Manila Friday (September 13), LANDBANK announced the launching of the “PAlay aLAY sa Magsasaka ng Lalawigan (PALAY ng Lalawigan) Program.”
The Bank has earmarked P10 billion to fund the Program to assist provincial, municipal and city governments of rice-producing areas nationwide to procure palay from small farmers, with a low interest rate of two per cent (2%) per annum. The Bank is considering aligning its pricing with the recent announcement of the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) Governing Board that pegged the price of wet palay at P16.00 per kilo and dry palay at P19.00 per kilo.
“This is a direct response of the Bank, together with the Department of Agriculture, to the call of the national government for a concerted effort of government agencies serving the agriculture sector to firm up its support for our palay farmers in the wake of the impact of lower palay prices,” said LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo.
Last September 3, 2019, DA Acting Secretary William D. Dar and LANDBANK President Borromeo met with members of the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) where the attending 19 governors agreed to participate in the Program. Under this Program, the Provincial Government will buy local palay and may operate a socio-economic enterprise to assist the farmers whose incomes were adversely affected by the drop in the farmgate prices of palay.
The PALAY ng Lalawigan Program complements the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed by DA and LANDBANK last August 28, 2019 for the implementation of the Expanded Survival and Recovery Assistance Program for Rice Farmers (SURE Aid) Program where rice farmers who are tilling one hectare of rice farm and below may avail of a one-time, zero-interest, no collateral loan of P15,000 payable in eight years.
The SURE Aid Program, with an initial allocation of P1.5-billion from ACPC, was launched by DA and LANDBANK last September 2, 2019 in Zaragoza, Nueva Ecija where more than 1,000 rice farmers from Nueva Ecija and Tarlac received their SURE Aid LANDBANK Cash Cards containing the assistance.