By Madelaine B. Miraflor
The Department of Agriculture (DA) has identified several agriculture projects for some of Mindanao’s poorest provinces using P7 billion from the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) funds.
In a statement, DA said it has decided to set aside P6.5 billion of PRDP funds to Mindanao because at least 10 of the identified poorest provinces in the Philippines are found in the country’s largest island.
Launched in 2013, DA’s PRDP is the biggest World Bank-funded project in the Philippines. It started as a farm-to-market road (FMR) initiative and was eventually added with several livelihood components.
Last year, the project was injected with additional fund worth P8 billion on top of its existing budget of P27 billion, which had already ran out.
With the recent allocation, Lanao del Sur, which ranks among the top poorest provinces, has now three PRDP subprojects lined up. These projects will have a combined budget of P113.12 million.
Sulu, on the other hand, has one subproject worth P135 million, while Maguindanao has 18 subprojects worth P832.97 million all in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Saranggani Province has 18 subprojects amounting to P906.81 million; Bukidnon with 55 subprojects worth P1.306 billion; Zamboanga del Norte with 12 subprojects worth P1.221 billion; Sultan Kudarat with 16 subproject amounting to P372.46 million; Agusan del Sur with 13 subprojects worth P809.62 million; Lanao del Norte with seven subprojects worth P274.40 million; and North Cotabato with 19 subprojects worth 538.66 million.
DA said the establishment of FMRs, bridges, post-harvest facilities and other infrastructures to the provincial local government unit from the above mentioned provinces reduce farmers’ transportation cost, travel time, increase traffic, reduce post-harvest losses, and establishing direct linkage from farm to market.
“As a result, farmers will have better income as their products are sold at a favorable price,” DA said.
The enterprise support will also help farmer organizations and cooperatives uplift their economic condition.
PRDP has been cited by the World Bank as having one of the most outstanding agriculture programs that is worth replicating by other nations.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said earlier that with the overwhelming attention the PRDP has been getting globally, it is not impossible that the multi-billion project will get additional financing from its original funder, World Bank.
Piñol presented the success of the PRDP during last month’s Global Forum for Food and Agriculture 2019, which was attended by Agriculture Ministers and Secretaries from over 100 countries.
Based on World Bank’s estimates, more than 400,000 rural residents are estimated to directly benefit from PRDP’s infrastructure initiatives, and another 100,000 people would benefit from the development of rural enterprises.