The Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) has released P1.51 billion in loans to a total of 9,126 rice farmers and cooperatives as of 31 March 2022 through the Expanded Rice Credit Assistance under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ERCA-RCEF).
Implemented in partnership with the Department of Agriculture (DA), LANDBANK was able to fully disburse the allocated program fund from 2019 to 2021 under the ERCA-RCEF, designed to support small rice farmers cope with the decline in palay prices, coupled with challenges brough about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Majority of the beneficiaries were from the rice-producing provinces of Region 2, particularly Cagayan, Nueva Vizcaya, and Quirino, with LANDBANK assisting a total of 4,189 individual rice farmers and 28 cooperatives.
LANDBANK was also able to extend assistance to rice farmers in the Visayas and Mindanao, including the provinces of Capiz, Agusan del Sur, Davao del Norte, and Occidental Mindoro, among others.
“As a vital contributor to the National Government’s sustainable development agenda, LANDBANK remains steadfast in delivering much-needed support to the agriculture sector. Alongside the DA, the successful and timely delivery of loans to rice farmers under the ERCA-RCEF is a testament of this unwavering commitment,” said LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo.
The ERCA-RCEF is a credit facility which aims to boost the productivity and income of small rice farmers, and cushion the initial impact of Republic Act No. 11203, also known as the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL).
Under ERCA-RCEF, individual farmers may borrow up to 90% of their total project cost at a low fixed interest rate of 2% per year. The loan may be used to purchase farm inputs for rice and rice seed production, as well as farm machineries and equipment for production and post-production.
DA-accredited cooperatives may also borrow under the ERCA-RCEF for the purchase of farm inputs for rice and rice seed production as a collective operation and working capital for rice and rice seed trading. The Progam also supports rice farming-related activities such as the acquisition of machineries and equipment, as well as relending and rediscounting of existing loans of small rice farmers listed in the DA’s Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA).
As mandated by Republic Act No. 11203, LANDBANK shall continue to administer the ERCA-RCEF Program for the DA until 2024, and make available P500 million in loans annually to rice farmers registered under the RSBSA in 38 rice-producing provinces. (Landbank)