March 21, 2023

ADB OKs loan for agriculture

The Philippines secured another $500 million loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to fund programs intended to reform the country’s agriculture sector.

The loan is part of subprogram 2 of the Competitive and Inclusive Agriculture Development Program, the ADB said in a statement on Friday. It aims to boost the local agriculture industry through trade policy reforms and regulatory changes.

“This new loan aims to support the Philippines’ efforts to attain food security by building a competitive and inclusive agriculture sector that is characterized by improved efficiency, enhanced diversity, strengthened climate resilience, and higher farm incomes,” said Takeshi Ueda, ADB’s Principal Natural Resources and Agriculture Economist for Southeast Asia.

This new loan intends to improve social protection measures for rural families, among others, since agriculture workers usually live in extreme poverty.

Rice buffer stock management for emergencies, unconditional cash transfers, and adequate financing for the country’s rice industry are among the programs that will be supported by the loan.

About 10% of the country’s gross domestic product comes from agriculture. The sector also employs about 25% of Filipino workers. However, despite its importance, the farm sector has been long-neglected and has fallen behind other industries.

Additionally, this new loan supports initiatives initially included in the first loan subprogram in 2020 under the previous government.