WB okays $.6-B loan to PHL rural development scaling-up of DA


THE World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors this week approved a new multimillion-dollar loan to expand the country’s Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP).

In a statement, the World Bank said the Philippines will receive a $600-million loan for the Philippines to finance Philippine Rural Development Project Scale-Up (PRDP Scale-Up) of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

The Washington-based lender said the expansion aims to stimulate further growth in these critical sectors and strengthen the nation’s rural economy through rural infrastructure and enhancing connectivity.

“Almost 60 percent of the poor work in agriculture in the Philippines, so accelerating the growth of agriculture and fishery is vital for the country’s development overall and for poverty reduction,” said World Bank Country Director for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand Ndiamé Diop.

“Improving access to markets will help farmers and fisherfolk in rural areas raise their incomes, provide for their families, and elevate their standards of living,” he added.

World Bank said the financing will come from a loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).

The Scale-Up will prioritize fewer but larger programs, increasing support for investments that will yield benefits beyond the immediate project area, including research and development, infrastructure, market connectivity, and biosecurity.

In addition, it will provide enterprise grants to support farmers’ and fisherfolk cooperatives, associations, and local government units.

“The Rural Development Project concentrated on spurring growth among farming and fishing enterprises,” said World Bank Senior Agriculture Economist Mio Takada. “The Scale-Up takes this further, emphasizing support throughout the value chain, from production through to marketing, ultimately increasing the competitiveness and profitability of these businesses.”

The Rural Development Project is active in 80 provinces, including 640 municipalities and 32 cities. It has reached almost 633,000 farmers, raised incomes, and improved connectivity to markets through construction of roads, bridges and post-harvest facilities, among other interventions.  

The Scale-Up will support access for micro- to medium-scale agricultural and fishery enterprises to resources, knowledge, and income-generating activities. Funding will support inputs, production, marketing, and enterprise management, among others. The project also aims to increase participation of women in these activities.    

It will also strengthen rural infrastructure and connectivity, as this scaling up of rural development support will fund climate-proof infrastructure, including more roads, bridges, irrigation systems, and post-harvest storage facilities such as warehouses, drying, and cold storage.

The project aims to provide improved technology to reduce post-harvest losses and put in place more efficient logistics. This will help ensure a stable supply of food and agricultural products in markets.