Philippines gets $500M funding from World Bank

The World Bank has committed worth $500 million to support the Philippines’ Agriculture department.

In a statement over the weekend, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said he personally received the firm committment from World Bank country director Mara Warwick.

“Within our first 100 days in office, we received the World Bank’s nod to bankroll several projects that highlight our ‘New Thinking’ for agriculture,” Dar said.

Dar said the funds will be used to enhance Philippines’ agri-fishery extension systems, provide livelihood to fisherfolk and indigenous peoples, and updating the national farmers’ registry system.

In particular, $200 million will go to provincial agriculture and fishery extension delivery system, another $200 million for coastal resilience and fisheries development project, and $100 million for Mindanao’s inclusive agriculture development project.

The department also proposed to update and enhance the registry system for basic sectors in agriculture (RSBSA) that will contain, among other information, a reliable list of legitimate farmers and fishers nationwide.

“With an updated RSBSA, we will be able to focus the delivery of needed services and initiatives to our clienteles — most especially small farmers and fisherfolk — more effectively and efficiently. We will strive to make all our agricultural, fishery and agribusiness projects inclusive, market-oriented and sustainable,” Dar said.

The proposed projects are on top of the extension of the current World Bank-funded Philippine Rural Development Project worth $280 million which it released in September 2019.

PRDP is administered by the Agriculture department and jointly funded by the World Bank, the national government, and participating local government units (LGUs). It was aimed at establishing an up-to-date, value-chain oriented and climate-resilient agriculture and fisheries industries.

The projects are executed with LGUs and the private sector, which are expected to help provide key infrastructure, technology and information to boost income, productivity, and competitiveness in target areas.

Since it began in 2013, the program has received a total of $760 million from the World Bank.

The DA also extended worth P480.24-million of machinery and other inputs to members of irrigator and farmer’s associations in the Northern Mindanao.

“The assistance is part of the government’s provision for equipment to increase productivity and income of rice farmers and make them more competitive,” the department said.