PARTNERS FOR CHANGE. The Development Bank of the Philippines and the different cooperatives in Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur participate in a ceremonial loan signing of DBP-financed projects on Oct. 13, 2022 at the Ilocos Norte Capitol session hall. The bank is reaching out to more farmers through their cooperatives and encouraging them to avail of the government’s loan offering. (PNA photo by Leilanie Adriano)

LAOAG CITY – State-owned Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) and 14 cooperatives in Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur have forged a deal that will improve access to bank financing opportunities and capacity-building initiatives.

Through the Expanded Rice Credit Assistance-Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ERCA-RCEF), the DBP is offering zero-interest loans to all eligible farmers who have no outstanding loan from formal lending institutions and the Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Credit Policy Council credit conduits for the same project being applied for.

Applicants must also have undergone technical training on palay-related projects.

The ERCA-RCEF is a credit facility supporting rice farmers and their cooperatives by improving their productivity and increasing their income amid the liberalization of the Philippine rice trade policy,

Under my area of jurisdiction, we have helped around 64,000 farmer-beneficiaries already,” DBP senior vice president Catherine Camarao said on Friday. Her office covers Region 1, 2, 3 and the Cordillera Administrative Region.

She said their collection efficiency is “very good,” meaning more cooperatives are now availing of the loan program to boost farmers’ productivity.

DBP is the sixth largest bank in the country in terms of assets and provides credit support to four strategic sectors of the economy — infrastructure and logistics; micro, small, and medium enterprises; the environment; and social services and community development.

Presently, the DBP is offering financing assistance to eligible cooperatives initially under three programs, namely, the ERCA-RCEF, the DBP response to accelerate micro, small, and medium enterprises recovery, and the DA-Agricultural Credit Policy Council-DBP BuyANIhan credit program. (Leilanie Adriano, PNA)