By Karl R. Ocampo, September 12, 2020; Philippine Daily Inquirer

The Department of Agriculture (DA) is looking to secure additional funding for its Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP)—a partnership between government agencies and the private sector, and wholly funded by the World Bank.

In a press conference on Thursday evening, PRDP director Shandy Hubilla said the agency had already proposed the needed additional funding worth $240 million for the approval and support of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).

This will add to the initial funding of $500 million that the project received from the World Bank.

Hubilla said the proposal was already endorsed by Agriculture Secretary William Dar during a Neda technical board meeting on Aug. 26. The funding is meant to continue and improve existing programs under PRDP in all 81 provinces in the country.

The PRDP uses a geotagging dashboard to check the status of every program. It is available on its website. Its projects include the construction of farm-to-market roads, distribution of equipment and provision of warehouses. PRDP also provides support to rural-based cooperatives and organizations intending to venture into agriculture-related businesses.

In a recent webinar on Philippine agriculture, the World Bank noted the importance of the sector in speeding up the recovery of the country’s economy.

World Bank senior agriculture economist Eli Weiss said improving local agriculture meant not only focusing on certain crops such as rice, but also ensuring the overall growth of all subsectors.

Some of the programs currently in the PRDP’s pipeline are the rehabilitation of farm-to-market roads, the construction of a P60-million slaughterhouse in Albay and a P47-million dairy project in South Cotabato.