PH expects ₱14B World Bank loan for agri enterprise, rural infra

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 31) — The Department of Agriculture said it is hopeful that the World Bank will greenlight an additional $280 million (about ₱14 billion) funding this June for “more agriculture enterprise and rural infrastructure subprojects” under the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP).

The second additional financing (AF2) loan also features an €18.3 million (around ₱1 billion) co-financing grant from the European Union, the agency said in a news release on Sunday.

“We look forward to more enabled communities and expanded opportunities under the new normal with the approval of the AF2-EU,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar.

Dar said the multilateral lender is expected to approve the loan on June 17, with formal loan signing slated for July.

The loan is the second tranche of the $450 million credit line from the World Bank, which the government’s Investment Coordination Committee approved in 2016.

“It aims to scale up activities and enhance the benefits and impacts of the PRDP, thus supporting the Duterte administration’s COVID-19 economic recovery,” said the DA. State authorities pitched the PRDP in 2014, then securing a $501 million loan from the Bank.

As of end-April, the program has rolled out 1,091 projects in 88 provinces, according to Shandy Hubilla, national deputy project director of PRDP.

It has benefited 766,200 households and conducted 132 value-chain analysis covering 76 agri-fishery and food commodities, Hubilla said.

Meanwhile, over 1,200 kilometers of roads have been completed in terms of infrastructure under PRDP. The DA also reported more than 1,000 lineal meters of bridges, 98 pre-and post-harvest facilities, and improved irrigation or drainage services for 1,997 hectares of farmland.

Over 400 enterprise sub-projects have likewise been completed, benefiting 81,000 households which belong to 567 proponent groups, the agency added.

“The key to the funding approval of AF2 is the outstanding assessment of completed PRDP subprojects, prior to the ongoing 12th World Bank Implementation Support Mission, from May 24 to June 10, 2021, with 400 participants all over the country, including top WB officials,” said the DA.