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Cash-strapped palay farmers can now breathe a huge sigh of relief after the Department of Agriculture - Agriculture Credit Policy Council (DA-ACPC), released an initial P180 million from the P1-billion credit component of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).

Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) assistant vice president Edgardo Luzano said the P179.69 million loanable funds can now be accessed by eligible farmers from 59 provinces nationwide.

The amount is part of the P500-million credit component of the P10-billion RCEF fund obligated to LBP.

Luzano encouraged palay farmers to take advantage of the subsidized loan, which they can use to increase their productivity through purchase of inputs, machineries and other farm equipment.

To help ease the loan application process, Luzano said that LBP has set separate eligibility criteria for individual rice farmers and cooperative members.

For individual farmers, they should be enlisted in the Registry System of Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) and has no outstanding balance from formal lending institutions and DA-ACPC credit conduits. Also, they should have undergone technical training on rice-related projects.

Further, they only have to fill out a one-page loan application form, and present one government-issued ID or barangay certification. For individual farmers who use machines and equipment provided by RCEF, they need to provide a copy of a business permit.

Meanwhile, rice farmers who are members of cooperatives can also avail of the loan facility provided that they are duly registered with CDA, accredited by the DA, no adverse findings on the cooperative and its principals have strong back office support with defined Operational Structure, must be profitable and have financial capability conditions, must exhibit loan ratio below 25 percent, have certificate of compliance from CDA, and have undergone relevant technical training on rice-related projects.

Interested borrowers from cooperatives need to pass documentary requirements – including loan application for, certificate of accreditation from DA, photocopy of certificate of registration from the CDA, bio-data of incumbent officers and board of directors with ID, authorized board resolution, audited financial statement, business/farm plan, and updated business permit.

“The documentary requirements may seem tedious, but most are already and readily available in their cooperatives,” Luzano said, noting that the documents will only be required for first time applicants.

“They will no longer be required to re-submit the same documents for additional or renewal of loans,” he added.

As of October 17, Luzano said that 80 percent of the total funds available to LBP is already availed (P17.64 million) or being processed by lending centers (P124.66 million).
Besides the P500-million allocation from RCEF, the LBP also supports the Department of Agriculture in other lending operations such as Sikat Saka Program, Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF), and AFFORD-ARBs.

A total of 21,545 rice farmers benefitted from the different lending programs with a total credit value of P1.6 billion.

LBP hopes to make its loans more accessible to farmers by bringing the lending programs down to municipality level and other unserved areas.

Reference:
Mr. Noel O. Reyes
Spokesperson and Assistant Secretary for
Communications and Media Affairs
(0920) 4889686

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