PANTUKAN, Davao de Oro – When Reichard Dumaluan’s 74-hectare banana plantation was hit hard by the destructive Panama plant disease in 2013, his business was at serious risk of wilting away along with the infected trees in his farm.
The Panama disease infested Cavendish plantations throughout the province (formerly Compostela Valley) and neighboring towns in the region, only four years after Dumaluan established the plantation, Reicher Banana Farm, Inc. (RBFI), in 2009. Over time, the disease caught on, affecting the quality and quantity of RBFI’s produce.
With plantation yield and income significantly reduced, RBFI sought financial assistance from the Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) to rehabilitate and sustain their operations.
RBFI availed of a P75-million loan from LANDBANK in 2018 to supplement working capital and purchase the necessary inputs and equipment for rehabilitation.
After two years of rehabilitation, RBFI fully recovered from the plant disease and is now harvesting around 10,000 boxes of produce a week—a 100% increase from the previous production of 5,000 boxes a week.
“LANDBANK recognizes the importance of each subsector of agriculture to ensure food security. Through accessible credit assistance, we stand ready to support the diverse requirements of agri players to boost production and income,” said LANDBANK President and CEO Cecila C. Borromeo.
RBFI also used a portion of the LANDBANK loan for land expansion and modernization, which includes the purchase of a digital device which can record data per banana bunch, such as its weight, age, and location in the plantation.
With the data, RBFI can digitally monitor the health of the crops and accurately distributes farm inputs such as fertilizers, thereby helping the company save on costs. The generated data also allows RBFI to forecast harvests within a given season.
“I am grateful for LANDBANK’s support, especially at a time we needed it the most. As a client, we appreciate the customer service, as well as the financial and technical support they provide for our production,” Reichard Dumaluan said.
RBFI has since expanded its plantation to 130 hectares and generates employment for around 220 local residents. Their banana harvest is also being exported to different countries, including South Korea, China, and the Middle East, among others.
As of 30 June 2022, LANDBANK’s loan portfolio to support the country’s banana industry has reached P1.49 billion, in line with its intensified service to the agriculture sector.