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Landbank opens loan facility for bamboo sector

 

MANILA, Philippines - State-owned Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) has opened a loan facility to aggressively support the development  of the bamboo industry in the country and to help the Philippines becomes one of the leading producers of bamboo products in the medium-term.

 

Landbank president and CEO Gilda Pico said that through the so-called Kalikasang kabuhayan para sa wastong pamayanan (Kawayan) program, the bank would offer credit assistance to small farmers and fisherfolk, small and medium enterprises, and large agribusiness enterprises engaged in bamboo production, processing and other bamboo-

based economic activities.

 

“We are especially enthusiastic about the Kawayan program, as it can significantly contribute to improving the productivity and competitiveness of the local bamboo industry,” she said.

 

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) data show that world trade of bamboo was estimated at P12 billion in 2012. This is expected to grow at $2 billion annually to reach $20 billion by 2015. The DTI is also positioning the country as the world’s second largest bamboo producer, next to China, by 2020.

 

Pico said Landbank’s program would likewise help minimize the effects of climate change by greening watershed areas, thereby minimizing damage to agriculture caused by typhoons and other calamities.

 

According to the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), bamboo helps mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change by absorbing and storing carbon; protecting forests and watersheds; insulating environments against extreme weather; providing low-cost, green housing and infrastructure; providing cleaner biofuels; and providing renewable, sustainable resource for generating incomes.

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“Apart from being endemic in the Philippines and its ability to withstand storms, bamboo also grows rapidly, and reaches maturity in three to five years thereby providing quick return on investment, especially for farmers with little capital. It can also be included in multi-cropping and need not replace existing food crops,” Pico added.

 

The Landbank’s  Kawayan program would  assist local bamboo players to  gain a bigger chunk of the multi-billion industry and help the government achieve its goal of making the Philippines one of the world’s biggest bamboo producers.

 

Among the qualified borrowers under the program are local government units, cooperatives, federations, farmer associations, non-government organization, countryside financial institutions, small and medium enterprises, and agri-business entities.

 

The bank may finance loans for production, permanent working capital, rediscounting, and fixed assets acquisition for bamboo production, processing and other bamboo based economic activities.

 

Recently, Landbank signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with La Union-based Rang-Ay Bank, Misamis Oriental-based Axent Resource Corp. and the municipality of Sumilao in Bukidnon to support the Kawayan program.

 

The signatories also affirmed their intention to contribute in efforts towards assisting local bamboo players, especially in Region I, Region X, and other nearby localities.

The National Government, by virtue of EO 879 of 2010, has called for prioritization of the promotion, product development, and market access of local bamboo products through the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council.

 

The EO likewise directs the use of bamboo for at least 25 percent of the furniture requirements of public elementary and secondary schools and prioritizes the use of bamboo in furniture, fixtures and other construction requirements of government facilities.

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