Monday, January 26, 2015

3 Bicol provinces get Php600M from DA for rural infra development

NAGA CITY, Jan. 25 (PNA) -- Three Bicol provinces are among the recipients of the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Php11.382-billion infrastructure projects nationwide, a DA Bicol regional official said.

Elena De Los Santos, DA Bicol regional technical director for operations, named the three provinces in the region that are beneficiaries of the infrastructure projects worth more than Php600 million as Albay and the two Camarines provinces.

The DA and the funding agency, World Bank, conducted on Tuesday a review meeting at the Bureau of Soils and Water Management Convention Hall in Quezon City, she added.

De Los Santos said the infrastructure projects are mostly farm-to-market roads, of which more than Php197 million went to Albay; and more than Php200 million each for the two Camarines provinces.

She said all the projects have already been bidded out and these have already been given a “no objection letter (NOL),” which means that they are just awaiting for the release of funds which are under the so-called Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP).

Arnel De Mesa, PRDP national deputy program director, said in a statement received by the PNA Sunday that the PHP11.382-billion projects include production, marketing and logistics support for farmers and fishers in the countryside.

“The amount covers rural infrastructure projects and marketing and technical assistance for rural agri-producers, processors and traders proposed by local government units (LGUs),” De Mesa stated.

He said that for the project’s first year, July 2014 to June 2015, there were 66 provinces out of 80 provinces in the country included as of December 2014.

Of his provinces, 29 submitted Provincial Commodity Investment Plan (PCIP) approved by their respective Provincial Development Councils.

The PCIP refers to provincial plans that provide for “primary outputs geared toward enhanced agri-fishery modernization plans” or based on the Agriculture and Fishery Modernization Plan of the national government.

De Mesa said the national government and the World Bank signed PRDP’s Php27.6-billion loan-and-grant agreement on Sept. 9, 2014 and was declared effective and ready for loan drawdowns in early December 2014.

He said that through the agreement, the national government had received project proposals from LGUs totaling Php9.7 billion for the construction and rehabilitation of 1,121 km farm-to-market roads in different parts of the country.

De Mesa said the provision of funds also included 31 projects worth Php361.84 million for market assistance, capability-building, technology development, and production and post-harvest support, among others.

He said the review mission with the World Bank this year aims to look into the progress pace of the rural development project, as well as problems and issues that affect its implementation.

De Los Santos said the World Bank will undertake review and evaluation of PRDP in Bicol on Feb. 2-4.

According to the PRDP brochure, it is targeted that upon project completion the household beneficiaries would at least achieve five-percent increase in annual real farm incomes, seven-percent increase in value of annual marketed output, and 20-percent increase in number of farmers and fishers with improved access to DA services.(PNA) CTB/FGS/JME/CBD/PJN