Monday, November 22, 2010
Philippine agriculture department to seek ADB funding for agribusiness project.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) is planning to propose to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) a project that will build on the achievements of a $75-million initiative that seeks to increase farm productivity.
Agriculture Undersecretary for Operations Joel Rudinas said the envisioned project could be an offshoot of the Infrastructure for Rural Productivity Enhancement Sector (Infres) which will be closed in June next year. The project is funded by a loan from the multilateral financing institution.
“We will craft the proposal together with the ADB. It is possible that it [envisioned project] will have an agribusiness component,” said Rudinas in a telephone interview.
Just like Infres, he said the project will also target the reduction of poverty particularly in the rural areas.
Infres is a $150-million project that seeks to “increase agricultural productivity and profitability, decrease poverty incidence, and reduce the transportation costs for agricultural products.”
ADB extended a loan of $75 million. The rest of the amount required by the project came from the national government, local government units (LGUs) and target-beneficiaries.
As of Oct. 31, 2010, the loan utilization rate was pegged at 75 percent. On its web site, the ADB noted that its initial review indicated that the project’s “social and economic objective will be substantially met with the implementation of the selected subprojects.”
So far, 1,478 kilometers of rural roads have been rehabilitated or constructed under the project, while 1,454 hectares of farmlands have been served by irrigation systems. Also, the construction of 37 potable water systems were completed by 2008.
The ADB noted that out of 144 subproject packages, 79 have been completed of which 31 have been turned over to various LGUs.
The original closing date for the availment of the ADB loan was 2008, but it was extended for two years. The loan closing date was again extended to June 30, 2011.
On Wednesday, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) disclosed that the ADB may extend a total of $2.3 billion in loans and grants to the Philippines in the next three years.
Neda Deputy Director General for Investment Programming Rolando G. Tungpalan said the ADB and the national government are still currently in the process of discussing the projects and programs that will be included in ADB’s Country Assistance Strategy.
By Business Mirror
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