DA to expedite funds release for PH rural dev’t program

Categories: Policy News and Updates

Date Posted: 24 Jan 2015

FOR EXPEDITED FUND RELEASE. The World Bank-supported Philippine Rural Development Program temporarily waives a requirement enabling Yolanda-hit LGUs to immediately avail of the funding scheme. File photo by Franz Lopez / Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) has temporarily waived the value chain analysis requirement for provinces still reeling from the onslaught of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

The move intends to hasten the release of production assistance funds under the Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP).

The PRDP provides for a value chain analysis for 25 priority agricultural commodities in the country. These include coffee, mango, seaweeds, and rubber.

A value chain analysis is used to determine public and private investment opportunities by identifying the status of a particular industry, the linkages among players, and the interventions that can be implemented to develop the industry.

Waiving the requirement, albeit temporarily, will enable these local government units to immediately avail themselves of the counterpart funding scheme under the PRDP. This will enable them to support the production of their main agricultural commodities, PRDP deputy program director Arnel de Mesa said during the kick-off meeting for the first review of the program on Tuesday, January 21.

“It takes 3 to 6 months to conduct a value chain analysis for commodities, so, through the waiver, we can help them expedite the process,” De Mesa said.

Projects in the pipeline

In line with the waiver, an estimated P80 million ($1.80 million) worth of enterprise projects – mostly processing – have been pipelined for implementation in central Philippines.

About P2.1 billion ($47.16 million) worth of infrastructure projects have also been programmed for implementation.

Despite the waiver, local government units covered by the waiver on the conduct of a value chain analysis will still have to present a commodities investment plan to avail of counterpart funding, De Mesa said.

Upon the fund’s release, the DA will tailor fit the business proposal to the actual needs of the community. For example, coconut crops were destroyed in Leyte, so cacao cultivation is seen as an alternative.

“We will extend assistance for intercropping of cacao and coconut,” said De Mesa. “This way, they can catch up with production.”

Local government units (LGUs) in Leyte, Southern Leyte, and Eastern Samar have submitted proposals for counterpart funding of farm projects under the PRDP.

“Within the first quarter of the year, we may already be able to download funds,” De Mesa said.

PRDP mandate

The PRDP, rolled out beginning the second semester of 2014, is a 6-year program implemented by the DA with the World Bank for the creation of an inclusive, value-oriented, and climate-resilient agriculture and fisheries sector.

The total project cost for the PRDP is P27.5 billion ($617.62 million), consisting of a P20.5 billion ($460.41 million) loan from the World Bank, P3.58 billion ($80.43 million) counterpart funding from the national government, P3.11 billion ($69.87 million) equity of LGUs, and P287 million ($6.45 million) grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

The World Bank started its first review of the PRDP Tuesday, January 20. The first of the two review missions to be conducted this year will look into the progress of the rural development project, as well as issues that affect its implementation.

Cluster review meetings will also be held in Negros Occidental for the Visayas, General Santos for Mindanao, Albay for Southern Luzon, and La Union for Northern Luzon.

PRDP has received project proposals from local government units collectively valued at P11.38 billion ($255.67 million).

As of December, 66 provinces have provincial commodity investment plans (PCIP) approved by their respective provincial development councils for the program.



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