A veteran rural banker in Philippines, an advocate of increased agricultural lending, says he would not dare plot the rise of motorcycle-related loans; then make another chart for the depressing drop in the already meager loans that have gone to small farmers. The two charts would depress him. But the sense of the banking system is all too clear. Lend to motorcycle buyers but not to small farmers, who feed the nation. Land Bank of the Philippines, which was created to specifically serve small farmers and agrarian-reform beneficiaries, was the second top lender to the bankrupt South Korean shipbuilder Hanjin.
There is always a time of reckoning, and that is when the brutal wages of neglecting agriculture, the small food producers in particular clock in and haunt the nation. The virus season is that time of reckoning. Food items are mostly in short supply and are costly. At the wet markets, everything — after scarce NFA rice — has risen by 20 percent from pre-Covid-19 prices. Today, the toxic combination of import mania and neglect of agriculture has dried off the supply points. In the poor communities under lockdown, there are only two stark choices: getting the virus or dying of hunger.
Read more at The Manila Times