DA includes GenSan as priority area in PRDP program

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 29 Jan) – The Department of Agriculture (DA) in Region 12 has adopted this city as among the priority expansion areas in the region this year of the World Bank-supported Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP).

Amalia Jayag-Datukan, DA Region 12 executive director, said Thursday they have signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the city government to facilitate the inclusion of the area into the P27.5-billion flagship rural development initiative.

She said they already endorsed the MOA for evaluation and approval by the PRDP’s Mindanao Project Support Office based in Davao City.

Once approved, she said the local government could immediately propose and avail of infrastructure and enterprise development grants for its priority commodity sectors.

She said it could pursue sub-projects under the PRDP’s 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.

“There are a lot of opportunities for expansion in terms of agricultural development here in GenSan that the PRDP could assist,” she said in a press conference here.

Datukan said they initially encouraged city officials to propose for projects that would further improve its thriving asparagus industry.

She said the PRDP could assist in the expansion of asparagus plantations, enhance production and quality through postharvest facilities as well as help improve their marketing side.

The city could also look into the implementation of sub-projects that will boost its onion industry, which is mainly situated in the upland areas.

“There are also potentials in the fisheries sector that the PRDP could come in under the two program components,” the official said.

Under the infrastructure component, the PRDP, though the DA and the World Bank, will shoulder 90 percent of the total project cost while the local government will assume the remaining 10 percent.

For the enterprise component, 60 percent of the cost will be funded by the World Bank while the remaining 40 percent will be equally shared by the local and national governments.

PRDP 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 government and the World Bank signed a P27.5-billion loan-and-grant agreement in September last year to facilitate the implementation of the program, which took off from the Mindanao Rural Development Program.

The financial package focuses on the implementation of rural infrastructure as well as small business and livelihood projects that are expected to improve rural incomes and alleviate poverty.