• Rural dev’t projects up sharply at P3.02B over 8 months – DA

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    THE amount of sub-projects approved under the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) flagship rural development program has increased significantly in the last eight months as more local governments participated in its implementation.

    In a report on Monday, the DA said that sub-projects approved for implementation and are currently ongoing implementation under the Infrastructure Development (I-BUILD) component of the Philippine Rural Development Project totaled P3.02 billion, up sharply from just P230 million at the end of December 2014.

    Meanwhile, the amount of Enterprise Development (I-REAP) sub-projects approved for funding doubled in the last eight months to P78.65 million for 10 sub-projects from P35.88 million for two sub-projects before the end of 2014.

    According to Arnel de Mesa, PRDP National Project deputy director, the total portfolio for I-BUILD has increased by 240 percent from P10.98 billion to P37.39 billion, while the overall I-REAP portfolio has increased 354 percent, translating to P1.64 billion in funds.

    De Mesa added that majority of local government units are keen on participating in the PRDP. Seventy-five out of 80 provinces in the country have already forged memorandums of agreement with the project, from 58 as of December 2014.

    There are now 69 approved Provincial Commodity Investment Plans (PCIPs) from only 28 in the last eight months.

    A PCIP is a strategic plan that rationalizes the interventions within the various segments of the value chain of commodities significant to the province. The interventions are designed to contribute to the national goals of the agriculture and fishery sector.

    The approved value chain analyses (VCAs) under the PRDP doubled to 33 at present from 16 last December.

    The VCA is a tool used to assess the status of a particular industry to identify upgrading strategies and interventions that could contribute to the development of the industry and strengthen its competitive advantage.

    Some of the approved VCAs are coconut for Region 5, seaweeds for Regions 4-B, 6, 7, and Mindanao cluster, dairy cattle for region 4-A, abaca for Region 5 and 13, and cacao for Region 11 and the Mindanao cluster.

    While the PRDP has shown an impressive portfolio in its first year of implementation, Secretary Proceso Alcala still urged project implementers to always put the farmers in the center of every sub-project.

    “PRDP is committed to deliver critical infrastructures and establish actual enterprises benefiting farmers and fishers,” Alcala said.

    “It is important that the roads we approved are connected to national roads and other roads that will change the lives of our farmers,” he added.

    Currently, a delegation from the World Bank and PRDP teams visit various projects around the country to review and assess the implementation of sub-projects on the ground.

    The PRDP is a six-year national project that aims to establish a modern, inclusive, value chain-oriented and climate-resilient agriculture and fisheries sector. It is being implemented through partnership between the DA, the WB, and local government units.

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