MANILA— Agribusinesses in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and other conflict-affected areas in the country’s second largest island got a boost after the signing of a 4.93 billion yen loan agreement between the Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) and the government of Japan.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, in a statement Tuesday, said the five-year Harnessing Agribusiness Opportunities through Robust and Vibrant Entrepreneurship Supportive of Peaceful Transformation (HARVEST) Project was sealed by Landbank President and CEO Alex Buenaventura and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) chief representative to the Philippines Susumu Ito.
He, in turn, signed the guarantee letter for the PHP1.76 billion deal while President Rodrigo Duterte and Prime Minster Shinzo Abe witnessed the signing in Malacanang Thursday last week during the latter’s official two-day visit to the country.
The 25-year JICA loan has a seven-year grade period with interest rate of 1.4 percent.
”The HARVEST project is seen to help create an enabling investment environment in the ARMM and other conflict-affected areas in Southern Philippines to help rev up the economy and raise incomes in these communities,” he said.
Aside from the loan, Dominguez said JICA also plans to provide a USD6 million (PHP290 million) technical grant for capacity building of eligible HARVEST beneficiaries and Landbank’s project management.
The Finance department said the HARVEST Project, to be implemented from 2017 to 2022, will provide loans to large agribusiness enterprises, farmers’ organizations or cooperatives; micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs); and corporation-managed farms supported by Landbank.