LANDBANK launches P1-B loan program for small farmers, fishers, microenterprises to push financial inclusion
Friday, September 2, 2016
LANDBANK announced a new loan facility to help address the financing needs of around 1.2 million farmers, fishers, micro and small enterprises in unserved areas across the country as part of its intensified efforts to promote greater financial inclusion.
Dubbed as EMBRACE or Empowering Barangays in Remote Areas through Credit and Enterprise, the program has more relaxed features and requirements, and lower interest rates for farmers to engage in eligible projects like agricultural crop, livestock, and fishery production; as well as agri-enterprise and other livelihood activities.
LANDBANK officer-in-charge Cecilia C. Borromeo said the Bank earmarked P1 billion for this lending program that is in support of the government’s effort of promoting financial inclusion especially in the countryside.
“EMBRACE is a fitting response in line with our intensified effort to bring marginalized sectors under the umbrella of financial inclusivity. This facility will complement our lending programs for small farmers and fishers through conduits as well as existing programs in partnership with the Department of Agriculture and Department of Agrarian Reform,” added Borromeo.
Under the program, priority will be given to farmers who are owner-cultivators, tenants, leaseholders, who are tilling not more than five hectares of agricultural land.
Eligible fisher-borrowers, on the other hand, include coastal fishermen who own or operate not more than three gross tons of fishing boat paraphernalia and conduct fishing activities within 15 kilometer radius from the shoreline; and fishpond owners or operators of not more than five hectares including those under fishpond lease agreement or fish cages less than 400 square meters.
Those engaged in gathering seashells and the like and in catching aquatic resources, using traps and other devices are also eligible to borrow; as well as those engaged in aquaculture, which covers all forms of raising and culturing fish and other fishery species in fresh, brackish, and marine areas.
Any other individual engaged in small scale fish, seaweed and aqua marine production may also qualify for financing.
Also covered in the EMBRACE program are micro enterprises with asset size of not more than P3 million and small enterprises with asset size of more than P3 million but not more than P15 million.
Interested borrowers can go to any LANDBANK Lending Center or branch across the country.
LANDBANK continues to develop products and services that would help bring formal banking services to unbanked and underserved communities. Last June, LANDBANK led a nine-municipality financial inclusion caravan which enabled the Bank to reach out to about 4,000 unbanked Filipinos.
Through the caravan, themed as “Ipon at Kabuhayan para sa Kababayan”, the Bank offered on-the-spot account opening for first-time account holders and presented modules on financial literacy to introduce participants to formal banking services, as well as business and livelihood opportunities and savings.
LANDBANK remains the biggest credit provider to small farmers and fishers and local government units, and the biggest lender to microenterprises and SMEs among government financial institutions.