AS part of the effort to address the lack of affordable capital sources for farms, biotechnology firm Monsanto Philippines and Metrobank recently launched the first credit card facility for corn farmers in the country.
Dekalb MLite is the first credit card facility to be used in agricultural transactions in the Philippines and in the entire Southeast Asia.
“The lack of capital remains one of the biggest challenges in the country’s corn farming industry, prompting Monsanto to launch a breakthrough initiative to assist farmers,” Rachel Lomibao, chief executive officer of Monsanto Philippines, said in a statement.
“Since about 60 percent of our farmers rely on informal financing by lenders who charge high interest rates in exchange for collateral-free short term loan, Dekalb Mlite will certainly be most helpful,” Lomibao said.
Through the partnership of Monsanto and Metrobank, Lomibao hopes that other commercial banks will also seriously consider agriculture as a worthwhile investment sector not just for financing but also for infrastructure development such as post-harvest facilities and farm mechanization technologies.
Among the first cardholders who were approved for a Metrobank credit card facility were farmers from the Panay in the Visayas thanks to the active support of Delson Sonza, CEO of Model Agro Sales.
The partnership of Monsanto and Model Agro Sales goes back several years and has been instrumental in developing the hybrid corn industry in the Visayas, giving way to stability of corn grain supply for several feed millers operating in the area.
Dekalb MLite is a national program and will also be launched in other parts of the country in the coming weeks.
Monsanto Philippines is a local unit of Monsanto, a Fortune 500 global power company with a diverse portfolio of advanced biotechnology products produced in 404 facilities in 66 countries.
To date, Monsanto Philippines has four facilities spread out across the country, which includes its head office in Alabang, a Refuge-in-a-Bag (RIB) Plant and cold warehouse located in Bulacan, and an R&D station in Mindanao.
The company also has partnerships with the Philippine government through the Department of Agriculture as well as the local scientific and academic communities in the promotion of modern agricultural biotechnology.