World Bank OKs $170M for PH rural projects
The World Bank has green-lighted another $170 million in funds for the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) being implemented by the Department of Agriculture.
In a statement Friday, the Washington-based multilateral lender said its board of executive directors approved the additional financing to support the project that it noted was “designed to boost rural incomes and reduce poverty in the country.”
The fresh funds for the project jointly implemented by the DA and local government units “will also support development of rural infrastructure such as roads, bridges, communal irrigation systems, potable water supply, solar dryers, greenhouses, and composting facilities,” the World Bank said.
“More than 400,000 rural residents are estimated to directly benefit from the project’s infrastructure initiatives, and another 100,000 persons would benefit from the development of rural enterprises,” the lender added.
“The PRDP is one of the most innovative projects of the Philippines. The practice of the Department of Agriculture preparing provincial commodity investment plans together with local governments have empowered local executives to mobilize additional resources and bring in programs of other government agencies. The PRDP helps to consolidate and efficiently plan programs and activities that alleviate poverty in rural areas,” said Mara K. Warwick, World Bank country director for Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.
“An initial assessment of the project documents its extensive benefits, including an increase in average household incomes by almost 60 percent, amongst communities with rehabilitated farm-to-market roads; a 43-percent reduction of travel time in those communities with better roads; and a 54-percent reduction of hauling costs of agricultural inputs. Residents also reported an increase in school attendance and higher levels of enrollment, faster response to medical emergencies, as well as improved peace and order in the communities served,” according to the World Bank.
Also, “hundreds of projects have been approved for the PRDP, including 232 projects that will deliver 1,700 kilometers of roads and bridges, 100 post-harvest facilities, 18 small-scale irrigation facilities encompassing 1,800 hectares, and 512 enterprise projects with some 100,000 direct beneficiaries,” it added.
“Under the PRDP, the DA provides technical and financial support to the planning process of provinces and municipalities, as well as in the implementation and delivery of services, rural infrastructure, and enterprise development based on provincial commodity investment plans, value chain analyses and suitable production areas. This integrated planning approach is an important step in merging local priorities and national development programs, thus making the DA and local governments effective partners in the development of the farming and fishing sector,” the World Bank noted.
According to World Bank documents released last year, the six-year PRDP being implemented by the Department of Agriculture since 2014 showed “increase in household income, increase in on-farm income, increase in production areas, reduction in travel time from farm to market site, reduction in hauling costs of agricultural output, reduction in hauling cost of production inputs, and more than doubling of traffic density in farm-to-market road sites” in the covered 81 provinces.
The World Bank had provided $501.25 million in financing to the PRDP, equivalent to about three-fourths of the total project cost.
To scale up the program, an additional $212.5 million in funds was needed, including $42.5 million to be contributed by LGUs, the World Bank had said.
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