MANILA, Philippines – A unit of UCPB extended loans amounting to P114 million to 2,367 farmers nationwide as it continues to reach out to impoverished coconut farming communities.
Edgardo Amistad, president of UCPB-CIIF Finance and Development Corp. (Cocofinance), said the loans would help finance the livelihood projects of coconut farmers across the country.
“Coconut farmers are among the poorest in the agricultural sector; the livelihood projects we finance give them alternative sources of income to augment their earnings from the farm,” Amistad said.
Cocofinance, formed in 1994 by UCPB and the Coconut Industry Investment Fund (CIIF) companies, is the only lending firm in the country that caters exclusively to the credit needs of small coconut farmers.
Over the past 21 years, Cocofinance has released P7.9 billion in livelihood loans to 408,158 households in 66 of the country’s 68 coconut farming provinces. There are currently 3.5 million coconut farmers all over the country.
In 2015 alone, it extended P610 million in livelihood loans to 17,981 small coconut farmers through its countryside partners consisting of rural banks, thrift banks and cooperative banks.
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The company has built a network of 434 countryside partners, allowing it to cover 20,300 barangays in 66 coconut provinces.
Amistad said Cocofinance is able to undertake development lending on a large scale because it lends money out of its equity unlike commercial banks that are regulated by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas since they use deposits from the public.
Cocofinance’s equity is currently pegged at P975 million. UCPB contributed P100 million while United Coconut Chemicals chipped in P175 million and CIIF Oil Mills Group with P700 million.