BanKo and Agrilever launch loan program to support farmers

BanKo, the financial inclusion and microfinance arm of BPI, has partnered with agri-tech company Agrilever to launch the Agri NegosyoKo Loan Program. This initiative aims to empower farmers by providing them with essential financial support, technological tools, and agricultural guidance to enhance productivity and improve livelihoods.

“The Philippines is an agricultural country, and to sustain and expand farming opportunities, we must support our farmers with programs that help them grow their businesses. The Agri NegosyoKo Loan Program introduces a comprehensive approach that underscores productivity, efficiency, and the economic well-being of farmers through strategic partnerships with cooperatives and aggregators, like Agrilever,” said Rod Mabiasen, Jr., BanKo President.

The program offers customized loans and a suite of benefits, including financial education, protection and security, personal engagement, community involvement, a streamlined application process, and incentives for responsible behavior.

“The Agri NegosyoKo Loan Program is the fruit of our collaboration with cooperatives and aggregators. Coupled with their technological expertise, we will empower farmers and aggregators with opportunities for easier access to financing, technologies to help yield higher crops, and manage production with cost-efficiency,” said Jojo Ocampo, BanKo Chairman.

“Going beyond financial aid, we also provide a platform for knowledge, innovation, and sustainable growth. We see farmers not as our clients, but as vital partners.”

Agrilever highlighted that many farmers lack bank accounts or access to affordable financing. The Agri NegosyoKo Loan Program aims to address this gap by offering loans ranging from Php50,000 to Php300,000, ensuring financial stability for farmers and their supply chain partners.

Agrilever will provide farmers with Digital Agronomy Services, Market Access, Flexible Financing, Crop Insurance, and Weather Systems to promote sustainability and social equity in the agricultural sector. Through an app, farmers will receive guidance on planting, harvesting, and applying pesticides and fertilizers.

With Agrilever’s support, the national average rice yield of 4.15 tons per hectare could increase to 7 tons per hectare. This substantial improvement is expected to positively impact small-plot farmers, their communities, and agribusinesses, fostering resilience in rural areas and ensuring a more productive future.

“Our partnership with Agrilever reinforces our commitment to provide our customers with, ‘May ngiti ang bukas mo.’ This is strengthened by our brand of service: Maaasahan, Malalapitan, Nagtitiwala. By doing this, we help build a better Philippines—one family, one community at a time,” Mabiasen added.

BanKo recently received the prestigious 2024 Change Maker Award for Most Innovative Bank for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) at the Universal Achievement Awards (UAA) for its commitment to advancing financial inclusion and supporting the growth of the MSME sector.

In 2023, BanKo released P14.96 billion in business loans to over 200,000 clients and opened 26 new branch-lite units across the country, bringing the total number of branches and BLUs to 350. The bank now operates in 77 out of 82 provinces, serving as BPI’s sole representative in 152 areas.