WB eyes new agricultural dev’t projects for Mindanao

MANILA-- The World Bank (WB) is looking to support agricultural development projects in Mindanao after the implementation of the Department of Agriculture's Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP) in 2021.

In a recent meeting with top DA officials, the WB also expressed its interest for smaller interventions that may be immediately implemented in addition to subprojects currently being implemented under the PRDP.

The Bank is eyeing Mindanao as the pilot area for this new engagement with the Philippine government, following the steps taken under the Mindanao Rural Development Program, the PRDP's precursor.

WB country director Mara Warwick said her team had earlier met with the Department of Finance and discussed engagement that would focus on comprehensively improving agricultural productivity along key value chains, hence strengthening production, connectivity and logistics, including human capital.

On top of the PRDP, Warwick said the Bank considered exploring new program models that might be more community based. These may not also necessarily follow the requirements observed under the PRDP.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel PiAol believes that Sulu is a particular province in Mindanao that needs immediate response because of security-related issues.

"The government cannot win this 'war' by killing the Abu Sayyaf but by addressing poverty in the province," he said.

For the war against poverty in Sulu to be effective, the agriculture chief added there was a need to put up a barangay center, a post-harvest facility, a water system, and introduce livelihood projects after liberating a village.

The World Bank plans to conduct field scoping missions with various teams looking into possible engagement areas like trade, connectivity, human development, road network and logistics, and agricultural productivity. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency