World Bank boosts PH rural development fund

Published June 18, 2021, 1:02 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

The World Bank will provide additional financing and grant to increase rural incomes as well as enhance farm and fishery productivity in the targeted areas in the Philippines.

In a statement, the Washington-based multilateral institution said on Friday, June 18, that it approved $280 million additional financing and 8.3 million euro grant for the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP).

Ndiame Diop, World Bank Philippines country director said that more than 300,000 rural residents are set to directly benefit from fresh rounds of funding for PRDP.

Moreover, the fresh funding will support 267 climate-resilient rural infrastructure and 287 enterprise development sub-projects, the bank said.

In additional, the funds would strengthen planning and implementation capacities among local government units and producer organizations.

“This project boosts the country’s efforts to end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity by targeting investments in agriculture, which is a major source of livelihood and income in the rural areas,” Diop said.

“We hope that this additional financing will further foster partnerships in productive investments between farmers’ groups and commercial buyers, contributing to improved market access and higher income opportunities for rural residents,” he added.

Implemented by the Department of Agriculture (DA), the additional financing builds upon the gains achieved by PRDP which started in 2014.

Under the PRDP, the DA provides technical and financial support to the planning process of provincial, city and municipal governments, as well as in the implementation and delivery of services, rural infrastructure.

“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,” Eli Weiss, World Bank senior agricultural economist said.

The additional financing also expands the inclusiveness of PRDP by supporting more local government units in Mindanao that experience poverty and conflict.

A grant from the European Union aims to co-finance and provide incentives for the Mindanao local government units with a higher incidence of poverty, lower capacity, more conflict-affected areas, and larger numbers of indigenous people to participate in PRDP.

Local government units in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) are particularly encouraged to participate.