President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. called on various stakeholders on Tuesday to aggressively carry out the PhP45.01 billion Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) Scale-Up to develop the country’s agricultural sector for the benefit of Filipino farmers, fisherfolk and consumers.
“Our priorities are going towards the same direction,” Marcos said. “Again, we will just have to scale up and do the necessary things,” the President stressed during a meeting with concerned government officials and the World Bank (WB) in Malacañang to discuss the status of the PRDP Scale-Up.
“We really have to develop the agricultural sector. So, let’s keep going. And, of course, what I am always reminded of is that we sometimes speak, in terms of agriculture, speak only of production. We have also to look at the farmers, fishermen,” Marcos added.
The PRDP Scale-Up is the first project that has been approved at record speed as it is set to be implemented only after seven months after it was submitted for consideration by the Department of Agriculture (DA) before the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
It can be noted that projects usually get approved after three years.
According to the President, the government has to balance everything and see to it that farmers produce and earn more while the consumers have sufficient food supply at affordable prices.
The President also raised the need for consolidation and inclusivity, as well as partitioning the collective Certificate of Land Ownership Awards (CLOAs) for families to make farmland usable.
The original PRDP started in 2014, aimed at establishing a modern, value chain-oriented, and climate-resilient agriculture and fisheries sector, providing key infrastructure, facilities, technology, enterprises, information, productivity, and competitiveness in the countryside.
PRDP Scale-Up builds on the gains of the original PRDP to further improve the access of farmers and fisherfolk to markets for increased income.
The project’s overall strategic directions include the government’s efforts for regional perspective in coming up with key agri-fishery investment areas, and clustering and consolidation of farmer and fisherfolk cooperative associations (FCAs) to attain economies of scale.
The enhanced mainstreaming of PRDP innovations towards institutionalization in the DA is also part of the agency’s overall strategic directions along with enhanced efforts to respond to rural infrastructure demand with farm-to-market roads (FMRs) as one of the priority investments.
A partnership of FCAs with the private sector for productive alliances and co-management agreements of enterprise facilities is also part of the direction.
Covering 82 provinces in 16 regions of the country, it targets FCAs, including clusters of FCAs.
Of the PhP45.01 billion total project cost, PhP33.00 billion will be financed through official development assistance (ODA) loans from WB, while the PhP5.57 billion will come from the national government, and the PhP6.44 billion will be funded by the local government units (LGUs) and FCAs.
The World Bank Board is expected to approve the project on June 29, with the loan signing taking place in July.
Once the loan is approved, project implementation shall commence in August this year.
The PRDP Scale-Up is expected to benefit about 450,000 farmers and fisherfolk and creates about 42,000 new jobs.