P27-B DA program gets NEDA-ICC nod

The investment body of the government stamps its approval to the P27.54 billion special program of the Department of Agriculture (DA).
The National Economic and Development Authority – Investment Coordination Committee (NEDA-ICC) Cabinet Committee and Technical Board (TB) jointly approved early this month the DA’s Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP) said Secretary of Socioeconomic Planning Arsenio Balisacan in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Processo J. Alcala.
Balisacan also noted that the approved total project cost for PRDP is P27.535 billion consisting of P20.553 billion loan  from the World Bank; P3.579 billion as national government counterpart; P3.118 billion equity of the Local Government Units, and P287 million grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
The NEDA ICC reviews the fiscal, monetary and balance of payments implications of major capital projects and recommends to the President the timetable of the implementation of these projects.
PRDP draws from the innovations introduced by the ongoing Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP). It will cover all of the country’s 80 provinces in 16 regions.
The ICC-approved project will be implemented over six years as DA’s platform for inclusive growth, value-chain oriented and climate-resilient agri-fisheries sector. It will cover all of the country’s 80 provinces in 16 regions.
“With PRDP, we want to create a chain of economic opportunities to bring farmers’ produce to higher levels of the value-chain and allow them to participate in the gains of value creation beyond the farm gate,” agriculture undersecretary Joel S. Rudinas said. 
Value chain refers to the full range of activities that are required to bring a produce or services through the different phases of production, including physical transformation and the inputs of various producer services and response to the consumer demand, explained World Bank Marketing Specialist Flordeliza Lantican.
“The program will engage local government units, farmer groups and other private sector players as partners in infrastructure development that support priority commodities.  It will also pursue the direction of the government for increased inter-agency collaboration to ensure that programs truly address inclusive growth,” said Rudinas, adding:
“As noted by Sec. (Edwin) Lacierda, the bulk of population especially in the rural areas is still into agriculture. We need to create opportunities and generate employment in the field.” 
DA expects the NEDA Board, chaired by President Aquino, approval next month and the implementation of the PRDP to commence by last quarter of the year. [Sherwin B. Manual/DA]