BanKo partners with Agrilever to empower farmers and strengthen agricultural communities

Photo (seated, from left): TG Limcaoco, BPI President and CEO; Jojo Ocampo, BanKo Chairman; Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, BSP Deputy Governor; and Eduardo Guillen, NIA Administrator together with (standing from left) Junibert De Sagun, DA Director; Ruel Amparo, Agrilever President; Yoav Schwalb, Agrilever Board Chairman; Arthur Yap, Agrilever Advisory Board Chairman; Rod Mabiasen, BanKo President; John-C Syquia, BPI Institutional Banking Head; and Junie Veloso, BPI Capital President

BanKo, the financial inclusion and microfinance arm of BPI, is partnering with agri-tech company Agrilever to launch the Agri NegosyoKo Loan Program. This initiative aims to help farmers strengthen their agricultural practices and improve their 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.

Aside from customized loans, the Agri NegosyoKo Loan Program offers farmers a comprehensive suite of benefits, including financial education, protection and security, personal engagement and 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.”

BanKo and Agrilever hope to help more farmers by enhancing their agricultural practices and providing affordable financial solutions.

According to Agrilever, most of their farmers do not have bank accounts or access to affordable financing. Thus, securing financial resources and customized financing solutions is essential for ensuring the financial stability of both farmers and their supply chain partners. With the Agri NegosyoKo Loan Program, farmers can access loans ranging from Php50,000 to Php300,000.

As a partner, Agrilever provides its farmers with Digital Agronomy Services, Market Access, Flexible Financing, Crop Insurance, and Weather Systems, aiming to promote sustainability and social equity in the agricultural sector. Through an app provided by Agrilever, farmers will be guided on when to plant, harvest, apply pesticides, and fertilizers.

The national average yield is 4.15 tons per hectare of rice. With Agrilever’s guidance, this yield could substantially increase to as much as 7 tons per hectare. By positively impacting small-plot farmers, their communities, and agribusinesses, Agrilever and BanKo can foster resilience in rural areas, ensuring a more productive future for the people involved.

“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 won the prestigious 2024 Change Maker Award for Most Innovative Bank for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) at this year’s Universal Achievement Awards (UAA) for its continuing commitment to advancing financial inclusion as part of its broader initiative to fuel the growth and development of the MSME sector.

In 2023, Banko released P14.96 billion of business loans to over 200,000 borrowing clients. BanKo also opened 26 new branch-lite units (BLU) in different locations across the country, bringing the total number of branches and BLUs to 350. The bank operates in 77 out of 82 provinces, with branches in 125 cities, serving as the sole representative of BPI in 152 of these areas.

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