• By The Financial District

$280M WORLD BANK LOAN FOR AGRI

The Department of Agriculture (DA) expects the World Bank (WB) to approve an additional $280-million (P14 billion) second additional financing (AF2) in June to bankroll more agriculture enterprise and rural infrastructure subprojects under the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP).

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The $280-M loan includes a EUR18.3 million (P1 billion) co-financing grant from the European Union (EU). The WB is expected to approve the AF2-EU loan on June 17, 2021, while formal loan signing is set in July, said Agriculture Secretary William Dar.


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


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.


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


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


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


Since then, with better, well-paved roads, travel time was reduced by 31 percent (%), and transport and hauling costs by 25%. Due to the combined outcomes of infrastructure and agricultural enterprise sub-projects, target beneficiaries were able to increase their average income by at least 36% as reported in the project’s midterm evaluation study.


The PRDP-served communities also reported an increase in school attendance and higher levels of enrollment, faster response to medical emergencies, as well as improved peace and order situation.


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DA undersecretary for operations and PRDP national project director Ariel T. Cayanan congratulated the PRDP men and women and LGU partners, farmers, and fisherfolk for a job well done despite all the shortcomings and challenges. “Let us continue to remain united and move forward to attain a modern, inclusive, value chain-oriented, and a climate-smart agriculture sector,” Cayanan said.


For his part, DA-PRDP national deputy project director Shandy Hubilla said as of April 30, 2021, the program has rolled out 1,091 projects in 78 provinces, benefiting 766,200 households, and conducted 132 value chain analysis, covering 76 agri-fishery and food commodities.


In the area of infrastructure, the DA-PRDP has constructed more than 1,200 kilometers of roads, more than 1,000 lineal meters of bridges, 98 pre-and-post-harvest facilities, provided potable water systems for 6,582 households, improved irrigation or drainage services for 1,997 hectares of farmland, and completed more than 400 enterprise sub-projects, benefitting 81,000 households, belonging to 567 proponent groups.


World Bank task team leader Eli Weiss expressed his gratitude to the DA-PRDP for its collaborative efforts to extend tremendous support to farmers.



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