$450-m farm project approved
The National Economic and Development Authority Board chaired by President Rodrigo Duterte approved the $450-million expansion of the Agriculture Department’s Philippine Rural Development Project.
The project will expand the existing PRDP, with World Bank participation, to increase its program for agricultural infrastructure support.
It supports the enhancement of farm and fishery productivity in 16 regions and 80 provinces across the country. The expansion will increase the current program of agricultural infrastructure sub-projects, including 206 (to a total 386) farm-to-market roads; 24 (to a total 44) farm-to-market roads with bridges; 2 (to a total 8) rural road bridges; 5 (to a total 7) communal irrigation systems; 17 (to a total 27) level-2 potable water supply systems; and 65 (to a total 129) other agricultural support infrastructures.
Neda’s Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee earlier endorsed the proposed expansion of the World Bank-assisted project.
The additional financing being sought from the bank will primarily address the shortage for the project’s ‘healthy’ infrastructure development subproject pipeline.
The pipeline includes sub-project proposals that have already complied with the PRDP’s requirements such as feasibility study, detailed engineering design, program of work, and social and environmental safeguards instruments.
The PRDP projects that loan proceeds for infrastructure would be fully committed in 2016, fully obligated by December 2016 and fully disbursed by June 2019.
The Agriculture Department said without assured available funding from the national government after this year, the project could no longer commit to fund the rest of pipelined infrastructure subproject proposals.
According to the PRDP management, the proposed expansion also means partnering with and influencing more local government units on top of accommodating proposals and reaching more communities to benefit from the Project’s infrastructure and enterprise development interventions.
“This means expanding our reach and consolidating institutional reforms being introduced by the project,” said Agriculture undersecretary for operations and PRDP national project director Ariel Cayanan.
“Expanding the PRDP means expanding reforms that we have been advocating within and outside the Department,” Cayanan said.
Arnel de Mesa, PRDP’s national deputy project director said the proposed expansion would sustain the commitment of LGUs to execute these reforms.
“The LGUs will do reforms together with the DA and the PRDP will be the instrument to do these,” de Mesa said.
De Mesa said that through the PRDP, commitments from LGUs could be further secured to advance the cause for good governance and transparency.
“We can [vigorously] innovate and propose changes because of the PRDP,” de Mesa said.