By Carmelito Q. Francisco, December 16 2018; Business World


Image Credit to Business World

DAVAO CITY — Implementation of the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) has been extended until 2024, giving the World Bank-funded flagship program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) a 10-year lifespan.

Danilo T. Alesna, PRDP-Mindanao deputy director said that the additional two years from the original program closure date of 2022 was decided upon to give more time for some approved and pending proposals.

The releasing of the “remaining funding will be gradual to see to it that other incoming equally important sub-projects are implemented,” Mr. Alesna said.

The projects under the initial P27 billion fund are about 90% infrastructure such as farm-to-market roads.

For the additional $450 million, or about P24 billion, allocated for PRDP, $170 million was released this year, covering mostly projects classified under the Intensified Build Up of Infrastructure and Logistics for Development and the Investments in Rural Enterprises and Agriculture and Fisheries Productivity.

Mr. Alesna said Mindanao has so far cornered 33% of the total fund and could possibly secure much of the remaining $280 million.

“If Luzon and the Visayas drag their feet, Mindanao will surely corner the biggest chunk of the remaining fund,” he said, noting that most of the pending proposals are from local government units (LGUs) in the southern islands.

“They must take advantage of the project because there is a very light burden on their (LGUs) part,” he added.

Under the terms of the PRDP, LGUs need to provide a counterpart equivalent to 10% of the project cost.

Proposed projects must be part of the value chain analysis and a component of the Provincial Investment Commodity Plan.

“These are necessary so that the money goes to where it is intended and that the projected income growth (on the part of the LGUs beneficiaries) is achieved,” he said.

In Mindanao, the identified priority commodities are cacao, coconut, rice, abaca, banana, cassava, rubber, seaweeds, coffee, goat, swine and milkfish.

Mr. Alesna said several other commodities have been submitted for consideration, among them sardines.

Launched in 2014, the PRDP is a nationwide version of the Mindanao Rural Development Program, which was implemented as a targeted platform for economic growth in the countryside. — Carmelito Q. Francisco