DA asks NEDA approval for additional P14-B funding

Published September 11, 2020, 2:30 PM

by Madelaine B. Miraflor

The Department of Agriculture (DA) is seeking the approval from the National Economic and Development Authority-Investment Coordination Committee (NEDA-ICC) for the additional P14-billion funding to extend the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP), the largest World Bank-funded project in the country.

PRDP National Deputy Project Director Shandy Hubilla said that even if the PRDP – which originally has a budget of $500 million or a peso equivalent of P27-billion at the time the project started in 2014 – already had additional financing last year, the DA still made another request for the program’s extension and another funding worth $280 million.

Launched in 2013, PRDP is DA’s project that began as a farm-to-market road (FMR) initiative until it was eventually expanded to cover several livelihood components meant to improve the lives of agriculture workers in the country.

The project is now divided into two components — which are I-Build (infrastructure projects) and I-Reap (projects on the production, processing, and marketing activities for agriculture-fishery products).

The five-year project was supposed to end last year, but the DA managed to ask for an extension from the World Bank and an additional budget of more than $100 million. This means the project would now end by 2022.

Now, what the DA wants, according to Hubilla, is to further extend PRDP up until 2024, a decision that is now up to NEDA-ICC to approve.

The ICC, which is a cluster of government agencies in the country, evaluates the fiscal and monetary implications of the country’s major national projects.

Projects approved by the NEDA-ICC will then have to go through the NEDA Board, chaired by the President, for the final approval.

“It will all intersect – the original PRDP and the first additional financing and now this extension that we are requesting,” Hubilla said in a virtual briefing.

At present, the PRDP already spent P30.7 billion to implement livelihood and infrastructure projects across the country.

Based on data from PRDP, the project now covers 78 provinces, with 1,086 sub-projects and about 625,708 households benefiting from it.

Hubilla assured that because PRDP has “geo-tagging,” there is no overlapping in the sub-projects.

The DA only has P150 to P200 million left to implement PRDP.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar expressed hopes that the World Bank will continue to support DA’s future endeavors, in addition to the ongoing PRDP, which has become “one of the best examples of successful multi-sectoral, multi-level partnerships” in the country.