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Agriculture expects P14B WB loan for rural projects

The Department of Agriculture said over the weekend it expects the World Bank to approve additional funding worth $280 million, or P14 billion, for rural infrastructures under the Philippine Rural Development Project.

It said the project would also have 18.3 million euros or about P1 billion in co-financing grant from the European Union.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the bank was expected to approve the second tranche of additional funding for PRDP on June 17, while formal loan signing would be held a month later.

“We look forward to more enabled communities and expanded opportunities under the new normal with the approval of the AF2-EU,” Dar said.

The AF2 is the second tranche of the $450-million funding from the World Bank as approved by the Philippine government’s Investment Coordination Committee in 2016.

It aims to scale up activities and enhance the benefits and impacts of the PRDP, thus supporting the Duterte administration’s COVID-19 economic recovery.

The additional PRDP funding will hep meet the increasing demand for rural infrastructures by local government units and for enterprise development investments and technical assistance by proponent farmers’, fishers’ and agribusiness groups.

Dar said the key to the funding approval of AF2 is the outstanding assessment of completed PRDP subprojects that should be reported to the ongoing 12th World Bank Implementation Support Mission. The mission would be held from May 24 to June 10, 2021, with 400 participants all over the country, including top WB officials.

The Philippine government in 2014 proposed the PRDP, which the WB approved and provided a loan and grant package amounting to $501 million.

It rolled out 1,091 projects across 78 provinces, benefiting 766,200 households and conducted 132 value chain analysis, covering 76 agri-fishery and food commodities.

The Department of Agriculture said that in the area of infrastructure, it constructed more than 1,200 kilometers of roads, over 1,000 lineal meters of bridges, 98 pre-and-post-harvest facilities, provided potable water systems for 6,582 households and improved irrigation or drainage services for 1,997 hectares of farmland.

It also completed more than 400 enterprise sub-projects, benefitting 81,000 households from 567 proponent groups.

The agency said that with better, well-paved roads, travel time was reduced by 31 percent, and transport and hauling costs by 25 percent.

It said that with the combined outcomes of infrastructure and agricultural enterprise sub-projects, target beneficiaries were able to increase their average income by at least 36 percent as reported in the project’s midterm evaluation study.

Topics: Department of Agriculture , World Bank , Philippine Rural Development Project , William Dar
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