The World Bank Group has completed its first review mission of the Department of Agriculture’s rural development projects under the P27.5-billion Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP).
The first of the two review missions to be conducted this year showed that the PRDP’s sub-project portfolio has already reached P11.382 billion, covering production, marketing, and logistics support for farmers and fishers in the countryside.
The amount covers rural infrastructure projects and marketing and technical assistance for rural agri-producers, processors, and traders proposed by Local Government Units (LGUs) during DA-PRDP’s Year 1 implementation, which could further expand in the coming months.
The Philippine Government and the World Bank signed the PRDP loan-and-grant agreement on September 8, 2014, which was declared effective and ready for loan drawdowns in early December 2014.
Based on PRDP’s progress report, 58 provincial Local Government Units (LGUs) have already entered into a partnership with the DA for the Project through a Memorandum of Agreement.
For the project’s official first year (July 2014 to June 2015) I-PLAN, the planning component has engaged 66 provinces out of the total 80 provinces in the country as of December 2014. 29 of the 66 provinces’ Provincial Commodity Investment Plans (PCIP) have already been approved by their respective Provincial Development Councils.
A total of 195 sub-projects have already been proposed by LGUs under the Infrastructure Development Component (I-BUILD) worth P11.02 billion, P9.7 billion of which is for the construction and rehabilitation of 1,121 kilometers farm-to-market roads.
The Enterprise Component (I-REAP) has a current portfolio of 31 sub-projects worth P361.84 million, which includes market assistance, capability building, technology development, and production and post-harvest support.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala urged PRDP implementers to check on the measures of results in the review mission, particularly those that record the improvement in the incomes and lives of farmers and fishers.
Apply PRDP to existing programs – DA
He also called on officials and implementers to be creative in identifying mainstream DA activities and programs that the Project should build on.
“We do not need to start new projects and enterprises if there are those we can enhance, upscale or mainstream. All our trading posts, grains processing centers, fish ports and other facilities are I-REAP projects in waiting. Some of these only need to be appropriately situated in the commodity value chain or only need to be jumpstarted through one of our financing programs,” Alcala added.
DA notes early gains
As a platform for a transparent and modern government, Alcala highlighted PRDP tools that promote transparency and accountability such as the geo-tagging and Expanded Vulnerability and Suitability Assessment (E-VSA).
“Foremost among the gains that already benefit the Department is, of course, geo-tagging – an innovative and cost-efficient ICT application, that enables accurate long-distance monitoring of projects by connecting—with high degree of precision—digital photos and videos with reliable geographic information. Developed under MRDP, PRDP continued to improve on it and expand its users,” Alcala explained.
“Another trail-blazing technology is (E-VSA), an online tool that guides users in targeting project areas based on poverty indicators, soil suitability and vulnerability to climate risks,” he added.
For his part, DA Undersecretary for Operations and PRDP National Project Director Emerson Palad assured participants and stakeholders that the Project will further address production, logistics, and post-harvest problems through the establishment of strategic infrastructures like farm-to-market-roads, communal irrigation systems, and post-harvest facilities, among others.
The review mission for DA-PRDP kick-off meeting will be held today (January 20, 2015) at the DA-Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) Convention Hall, Quezon City.
The meeting will be attended by a team from the World Bank, officials from the DA, its attached agencies, DA Regional Executive Directors, and other concerned national agencies. Cluster review meetings in Negros Occidental for the Visayas, General Santos for Mindanao, Albay for South Luzon, and La Union for North Luzon will follow the main meeting.