“ARMM welcomes $40-M Japan-funded agribusiness lending facility”
(Cotabato City, January 9, 2017). The Regional Board of Investments of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (RBOI-ARMM) welcomed the recent news that the Harnessing Agribusiness Opportunities through Robust and Vibrant Entrepreneurship Supportive of Peaceful Transformation (HARVEST) project hurdled the Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) of the National Economic Development Authority. HARVEST is supposed to be a lending facility for agribusiness and agribusiness-related investors in the ARMM to be managed by the Land Bank.
“For the HARVEST, we’ve gone through with the ICC Cabinet. It passed shortly before the New Year,” NEDA Deputy Director-General for Investment Programming Rolando G. Tungpalan said in a phone interview with the Business World.
HARVEST was approved by the ICC during its ad referendum session at the end of 2016. Ad referendum means the project is going through further consideration by the NEDA Board for a final decision.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency funded the project and is proposed by the Lank Bank to cost $40 million. Implementation will be for 2017-2021.
HARVEST will provide a line of credit to Land Bank to lend to eligible sub-borrowers directly or through accredited channels with up to 80% of investments coming from the fund and 20% as equity of investors.
RBOI chairman and managing head Ishak Mastura said that the business sector have been waiting for the HARVEST fund in order to pour their investments in ARMM considering that projects in the ARMM have a higher risk profile for investors.
“The ARMM has a dearth of credit facilities and it only has 20 bank branches so you can imagine how difficult it is for investors to access credit or if they are lucky enough to get credit the premiums are quite high,” Mastura said.
Ed Bullecer of the Unifrutti Group, a leading banana investor in ARMM, said that they have investment projects lined up that they hope can access the HARVEST fund.
Haron Bandila, ARMM Business Council chairman, believes that the HARVEST fund can also jump-start the small and medium-scale businesses in the region so that they can continue growing into bigger enterprises that will provide more jobs for the region.
“The various chambers of commerce in ARMM are anticipating the HARVEST fund so that their member businesses can borrow from the fund or they can partner with the big investors that will come to the region because of HARVEST,” Bandila said.
Jan 11, 2017 @ 09:07