By Revin Mikhael D. Ochave, May 30, 2021; Business World

The World Bank is expected to approve a $280-million loan from a facility known as second additional financing (AF2), which will support agriculture enterprises and rural infrastructure works under the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP), the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.

Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said in a statement on Sunday that the $280-million loan includes a co-financing grant from the European Union (EU) worth 18.3 million euros.

Mr. Dar said the World Bank is expected to approve the AF2-EU loan on June 17 with formal signing scheduled for July.

“The AF2 is the second tranche of the $450-million funding from the World Bank as approved by the Philippine government’s Investment Coordination Committee in 2016. It aims to scale up activities and enhance the benefits and impacts of the PRDP,” Mr. Dar said.

“The additional PRDP funding will meet the increasing demand for rural infrastructure by local government units (LGUs), and for enterprise development investments and technical assistance by proponent farmers’, fishers’ and agribusiness groups,” he added.

The DA said key to the approval is the assessment of completed subprojects under the PRDP prior to the 12th World Bank Implementation Support Mission between May 24 and June 10.

According to the DA, the government proposed the PRDP in 2014, which was approved for a loan and grant package worth $501 million.

Shandy M. Hubilla, the DA’s PRDP Deputy Project director, said the program has rolled out 1,091 projects across 78 provinces and has benefitted 766,200 households as of April 30.

“In the area of infrastructure, the PRDP has constructed more than 1,200 kilometers of roads, more than 1,000 lineal meters of bridges, 98 pre-and-post-harvest facilities, provided potable water systems for 6,582 households, improved irrigation or drainage services for 1,997 hectares of farmland, and completed more than 400 enterprise sub-projects, benefitting 81,000 households, belonging to 567 proponent groups,” the DA said.