New normal calls for more rural development initiatives

“Investment in agriculture can help revive food production and create jobs following a crisis and enable rural communities to recover.”

According to Agriculture Secretary William Dar, the government must continue to partner with the local government units and the private sectors, to increase food sufficiency levels, and modernize and industrialize the country’s agri-fishery sector.

Emphasizing the role of agriculture in the recovery efforts of the Philippines’ post-COVID-19, Dar called for the continuous support to the local farmers and fishers to enable the rural communities nationwide to adapt to the new normal.

During the kick-off meeting of the 10th World Bank Implementation Support Mission to the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) on June 15, 2020, Dar emphasized the need to push for the development of an agriculture-driven economy and a country that is food-secure and resilient with prosperous farmers and fishers.

Following the transition to new normal, PRDP will align its regular menus including I-BUILD (Infrastructure Development Component) and I-REAP (Enterprise Development Component) subprojects with the Plant, Plant, Plant Program of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

As such, the project, which is now in its sixth year of implementation, will launch initiatives to address gaps in the food supply chains and logistics of various agri-fishery produce through the establishment and rehabilitation of rural infrastructure.

PRDP will also focus on the provision of support services to jumpstart agribusiness enterprises.

According to PRDP National Program Director and DA Undersecretary Ariel Cayanan, the PRDP, aside from its usual menu of services under the I-PLAN, I-BUILD, and I-REAP components, will zoom in the development of short gestating projects through the proposed, 2nd Additional Financing for PRDP that aims to address gaps in the food supply chain and logistics and generate jobs in rural communities under the new normal.

Undersecretary Cayanan highlighted in his message the achievements of the Project through the I-PLAN Component which developed a total of 119 value chain analysis (VCA) on 66 commodities.

Also, all the country’s 81 provinces have approved and updated their respective Provincial Commodity Investment Plans (PCIPs) which they leverage with other national government agencies and even the private sector.

To date, around P50 billion-worth of interventions are being funded to support various commodity value chains with PCIP as the main reference document.