THE Land Bank of the Philippines (LandBank) on Tuesday said its loans to the agriculture sector in 2017 grew by 20.82 percent to P183.4 billion, from P151.8 billion in 2016.
LandBank said loans intended for the support of the agriculture and fisheries sector grew 24.4 percent to P138 billion, from P111 billion in 2016.
“A major driver of last year’s growth in the bank’s loans to priority sectors was the 53.5-percent increase in loans to agribusinesses, which jumped to P82.6 billion, from P53.8 billion in 2016,” it said in a statement.
Meanwhile, loans to small farmers, fishers and their associations also expanded by 11 percent, to P45.3 billion in 2017, from P40.8 billion in 2016, according to LandBank.
“Other sectors that registered growth in loans include education, which grew by 33.9 percent to P6.1 billion, from P4.5 billion, tourism, which was up by 35.2 percent to P8.8 billion, from P6.5 billion; and transportation, which rose by 29.5 percent to P38.9 billion, from P30 billion,” it said.
“Loans for housing projects, environment-related projects and communications also increased in 2017,” the bank added.
LandBank said its total loans to all the priority sectors in 2017 reached P564 billion, 28.1 percent higher than the P440 billion recorded in 2016.
LandBank added that the P564-billion loans to its priority sectors represent a “record-high” share of 93.8 percent against the bank’s total loan portfolio of P601 billion last year.
The bank’s total loan portfolio last yeargrew 22.92 percent, from 2016’s P488.9 billion.
“LandBank is taking bigger, bolder steps in our drive to further increase support to our priority sectors, especially our small farmers and fishers. This is in line with our commitment to fuel development in the countryside, which is a vital part of our growth as a nation,” LandBank President and CEO Alex V. Buenaventura said.
LandBank’s identified priority sectors include small farmers and fishers (SFFs), a good part of which are agrarian-reform beneficiaries, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs); agri- and aqua-projects of local government units and government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs); communications, transportation; housing; education; health care; environment-related projects, tourism and utilities.
LandBank remains the single largest lender to small farmers and fishermen, and the leading provider of financial assistance to MSMEs among GOCCs and government financial institutions.
It also finances projects in agri-infrastructure, agribusiness, schools and hospitals, farm-to-market roads, housing and livelihood, and other development projects of local government units.