ILOILO CITY -- To address the lack of capital sources with reasonable interest rates for farmers, Monsanto and Metrobank launched Dekalb Mlite, the first credit card facility for corn farmers in the country.

The lack of capital remains one of the biggest challenges in the country’s corn farming industry prompting Monsanto, a leading agricultural company, and Metrobank, a leading bank in the country, to launch a breakthrough initiative to assist farmers.

DEKALB MLite is the first credit card facility to be used in agricultural transactions in the Philippines and that of entire Southeast Asia.

Monsanto Philippines’ Chief Executive Officer, Rachel Lomibao, said “through DEKALB MLite, the utilization of credit card will now create value to the entire agricultural chain and ultimately benefit corn farmers. 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 rates, Dekalb Mlite will certainly be most helpful”.

Lomibao added, “growing up in a small farming village where I have seen and experienced the lack of financial resources, my personal vision is for every farmer to have the financial freedom to fund his or her own enterprise and be freed from the chains of a debt-laden small farming enterprise.”

Through the transformative partnership of Monsanto and Metrobank, Lomibao believes “it will just be a matter of time when other commercial banks will seriously consider agriculture as a worthwhile investment sector not just in terms of financing but also in infrastructure development such as post-harvest facilities and farm mechanization technologies.”

With the active support of Delson Sonza, CEO of Model Agro Sales, among the first card holders who got approval from Metrobank were from the Panay Island in the Visayas Region.

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 the stability of corn grain supply for several feed millers operating in the area.

DEKLAB MLite is a national program and will also be launched in other parts of the country in the coming few weeks. (PIA)