IT is certainly heartening to know that the government, through concerned offices and agencies, continues to exert its best efforts to win the battle against hunger and poverty in the Philippines.
This it will do by modernizing the beleaguered agriculture/fishery sector and addressing the major problems confronting the millions of small farmers and fishers throughout the country.
Despite government efforts to make the Philippines an industrialized economy, it is still primarily an agricultural country. Majority of the people still support themselves through agriculture.
Thus, it is only just and proper for the 57-year-old Landbank of the Philippines(LBP) to continue serving the mushrooming needs of people who depend their cash and livelihood on agriculture.
LBP is a universal bank owned by the government with special focus on serving the needs of farmers and fishermen, particularly in the countryside where the poorest of the poor work and live.
As of end-September, LBP assisted 2,396,259 small farmers and fishers (SFFs) nationwide, exceeding its full-year target of two million and more than double the 1,032,982 SFFs supported in 2019.
A total of 1,630,602 – accounting for 68 percent of the total – were provided assistance through the bank’s regular loan offerings and lending programs jointly implemented with the Department of Agriculture and Department of Agrarian Reform.
Also included were the 716,897 small farmers assisted through the rice farmers’ financial assistance and financial subsidy to rice farmers programs of the agriculture department.
Small farmers and fishermen, rural folk and other agri-fishery industry stakeholders play a stellar role in the nation’s gigantic task of attaining food sufficiency and sustainability.
But farmers and fishers face many problems, including high costs of inputs, low prices of products, lack of capital, lack of post harvest facilities, pests and diseases, and irrigation system.
Hopefully, however, government authorities succeed in addressing these major problems.