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WB lends $508 M to Phl for rural infra

Ted P. Torres (The Philippine Star) - August 31, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The World Bank is extending a $508.25-million loan and grant package to the Philippines for rural infrastructure aimed at improving the productivity of small farmers and fisherfolk, raising rural incomes and reducing poverty in the country.

The six-year Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) also aims to facilitate easier access of farmers’ produce to the markets. The Department of Agriculture (DA) will implement the project.

World Bank country director Motoo Konishi noted that a significant number of poor people are in the rural areas.

“A successful implementation of this project could boost the country’s efforts to achieve growth that creates jobs, in line with the World Bank Group’s twin goals of eradicating extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity,” Konishi said.

The World Bank said over 70 percent of total financing would be utilized for funding infrastructure projects of local government units (LGUs).

These will include farm-to-market roads, bridges, tire tracks, communal irrigation, potable water systems, post-harvest facilities, production facilities, fish landings, fish sanctuaries, storage facilities, trading posts, green houses, solar driers, and slope stabilization works.

Likewise, the geo-tagging tool, developed by the DA and currently being used to monitor agri-fishery infrastructure projects, will provide online updates on the progress of PRDP-funded projects.

The project will directly benefit close to two million farmers and fisherfolk, almost half of whom are women. PRDP will also indirectly benefit an estimated 22 million people.

The package includes a $7-million grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) for strengthening conservation and protection of selected coastal and marine protected areas. The GEF is a collaboration of 183 countries working together with international institutions, civil society organizations, and the private sector to address global environmental issues.

Priority areas for conservation include Tayabas Bay in Quezon; Green Island Bay in Palawan; Ticao Pass in Sorsogon and Masbate; Guimaras; Danajon Bank in Bohol; and Guiuan Coast in Eastern Samar.

Meanwhile, the World Bank said the PRDP must increase by at least five percent per year in real household annual incomes of beneficiaries.

Likewise, it must increase by 30 percent the income for targeted beneficiaries of small business and livelihood projects; seven-percent increase in value of products sold to the market; and 20-percent increase in number of farmers and fisherfolk with improved access to services provided by the DA.

DANAJON BANK DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE EASTERN SAMAR GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT FACILITY GREEN ISLAND BAY GUIUAN COAST MOTOO KONISHI PHILIPPINE RURAL DEVELOPMENT PROJECT SORSOGON AND MASBATE TAYABAS BAY WORLD BANK
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