KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 11 Nov) – The Department of Agriculture (DA) will propose for an additional loan and grant package of around US$450 million from the World Bank for the expansion of the flagship Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP).
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said Wednesday they are currently working on a proposal for the fresh financing, which is mainly aimed to ensure the continuous implementation of the project.
He said the PRDP, which only started late last year, was supposed to be implemented in six years but its current funding of US$ 508.25 million or roughly P27.5 billion has already been fully subscribed or committed to various sub-projects.
“The project’s absorption capacity is quite fast that its present funding will only last until next year. That’s the reason why we signified our intention to get additional financing for another cycle,” he said in a press conference here.
Alcala said he will meet with project implementers and representatives of concerned government agencies before the end of the year to finalize the request for additional financing.
The funding request will require the concurrence of the National Economic and Development Authority and other agencies before it will be submitted to the World Bank.
“We’re targeting its approval by the bank early next year,” he said.
Alcala expressed confidence that the World Bank will grant the request for additional funding due to their “fast and transparent” implementation of the project.
He said that based on the latest assessment made by bank representatives, the PRDP’s rollout is so far considered as among the fastest in the world.
“The PRDP achieved the fastest takeoff by a World Bank project of its magnitude in the whole world,” he said.
The PRDP, which was launched in October last year, is an upscale version of the Mindanao Rural Development Program that ended in December 2014.
It is a six-year rural development program implemented by DA that was designed to achieve an inclusive, value chain-oriented and climate-resilient agriculture and fisheries sector.
The project components are the I-BUILD component or the Intensified Building-Up of Infrastructure and Logistics for Development and the I-REAP or the Investments in Rural Enterprises and Agriculture and Fisheries Productivity.
Its first ever sub-project implemented under the infrastructure component is the P213.9-million farm-to-market road in Isulan town in Sultan Kudarat.
The project launched earlier this year the P39-million cassava granules production and marketing project of the Polo Samahang Nayon Multipurpose Cooperative based in Polomolok town in South Cotabato as its pilot initiative under the I-REAP component.
As of October 23, the PRDP already approved a total of 190 projects worth P11.37 billion under the I-BUILD component.
An additional 349 sub-projects worth P27.2 billion are already in the pipeline and undergoing processing.
Under the I-REAP, the PRDP so far approved 11 sub-projects worth P91.02 million and 107 others worth P1.32 billion are in the pipeline.