By Madelaine B. Miraflor
The Department of Agriculture (DA) had sought help from World Bank to fund more than ₱25 billion worth of projects on top of the ₱27-billion Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP), which is poised to get additional budget soon.
In a statement, the DA said it has received “firm commitment” from World Bank (WB) to finance four of its proposed projects aimed at enhancing agri-fishery extension systems, providing livelihood assistance to fisherfolk and indigenous peoples (IPs), and updating the national farmers’ registry system.
The proposed projects include the US$200-million provincial agricultural and fishery extension delivery system; $200-million coastal resilience and fisheries development project; and $100-million Mindanao inclusive agriculture development project.
The first project is a new proposal, while the other two are now being evaluated by the World Bank.
Aside from these, the DA also sought World Bank’s attendance to update and enhance the registry system for basic sectors in agriculture (RSBSA) that will contain, among other information, a list of legitimate farmers and fishers nationwide.
“With an updated RSBSA, we will be able to focus the delivery of needed services and initiatives to our clienteles — most especially small farmers and fisherfolk — more effectively and efficiently,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar.
For this, the DA didn’t mention how much money it will need.
The aforementioned projects are on top of the World Bank-funded PRDP, the largest project that the multilateral development bank is currently funding in the Philippines.
Just more than a week into office, Dar said in August that World Bank is open to lend the Philippine agriculture sector additional loan worth US$640 million, or around ₱44 billion, within the next few months.
“PRDP has a budget of almost US$760 million. There is a plan for World Bank to add fund… for the additional loan of US$240 million for PRDP,” Dar said earlier.
Launched in 2013, PRDP began as a farm-to-market road (FMR) initiative and was eventually expanded to cover several livelihood components meant to improve the lives of agriculture workers in the country.