Philippine rural development project gets additional $170-M WB financing

By Czeriza Valencia

MANILA, Philippines — The World Bank has approved an additional $170 million financing for the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP), which seeks to create an inclusive, value chain-oriented and climate resilient agriculture sector in the country.

The additional financing will provide for the construction of more roads, bridges, communal irrigation systems, potable water supply, solar dryers, greenhouses and composting facilities.

The government developed the PRDP in 2014 to improve rural infrastructure and provide more economic opportunities for farmers. The World Bank initially provided a loan and grant package of $501 million for the program jointly implemented by local government units and the Department of Agriculture (DA).

“The PRDP is one of the most innovative projects of the Philippines,” said Mara Warwick, World Bank country director for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand.

“The practice of the Department of Agriculture in preparing provincial commodity investment plans together with local governments have empowered local executives to mobilize additional resources and bring in programs of other government agencies. The PRDP helps to consolidate and efficiently plan programs and activities that alleviate poverty in rural areas,” she added.

World Bank said hundreds of projects have so far been approved for implementation under the PRDP, including 232 road and bridge projects covering 1,700 kilometers, 100 post-harvest facilities, 18 small-scale irrigation facilities encompassing 1800 hectares, and 512 enterprise projects.

Under the PRDP, the DA provides technical and financial support to local government units for the structuring of their commodity investment plans. This covers the identification of suitable production areas and requisite infrastructure as well as the conduct of value chain analyses.

The DA makes sure the provincial investment plans are aligned with national development programs.

World Bank estimates an increase in average household income by almost 60 percent in communities with rehabilitated farm-to-market roads; a 43 percent reduction in travel time in communities with better roads; and a 54 percent reduction of hauling costs of agricultural inputs.

Residents also reported an increase in school attendance and higher levels of enrolment, faster response to medical emergencies, as well as improved peace and order in the communities served.

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