Tuesday, July 23, 2024

BPI unit BanKo rolls out tech-enabled agri loan program

In celebration of the Sustainability Awareness Month (SAM), BPI savings bank subsidiary BanKo introduced on Wednesday, June 5, the Agri NegosyoKo Loan, during a media briefing in Makati City.

The Agri NegosyoKo Loan is a financial program aimed at giving out loans to microfinance smallholder farmers in a tech-enabled formal platform with better terms. 

The benefits that the program would provide to the farmers include:

  • Customized agri loan
  • Incentive for good behavior
  • Streamlined process
  • Community involvement
  • Insurance, Protection, and security
  • Financial education

BanKo developed the program with the help of Agrilever, a Filipino-Israeli agricultural parametric insurance company. Its co-founder Arthur Yap, presented their AI-Technology tool for assessing the farmlands being applied for the loan. 

The Agrilever tool incorporates these data into their assessment:

  • Crop management protocols
  • Weather intelligence
  • Earth observation remote sensing
  • Finance, banking, and insurance management
  • Market access integration

Combined with the Palay AI, an AI-based agronomy support program, they would be able to make accurate assessments, with minimal risks, and endorse it to BanKo for the loan.

The estimated 11 million uninsured smallholder farmers and farm workers normally get an income of P120 per day, and still have to pay 20% monthly interest to informal lenders, just to keep working on their farms.

However, with the Agri NegosyoKo Loan program, eligible farmers would only get a 2.3% per month interest rate, which would be subtracted when they sell off their harvest. 

BanKo currently aims to give out loans to 15,000 farmers before the 2024 planting season, by offering the loan during their BanKo-On-The-Go program, which goes to agricultural communities and help people with their financial needs. 

Aside from BPI-BanKo and Agrilever executives, also present during the event were Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, deputy governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Junibert E. Sagun, director of agribusiness and marketing assistance services of the Department of Agriculture (DA), and Eduardo G. Guillen, vice chairman of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA).

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