WB, EU to Fund Agriculture Projects in Bicol

The World Bank and the European Union have approved the funding of agriculture projects in Bicol next year, the Department of Agriculture regional office said Thursday.

The WB will finance the P28-billion Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP) and the European Union (EU) will bankroll the Enhancing Capacities for Disaster Risk Reduction in Agriculture (EC-DRRA), said Agriculture regional executive director Jose Dayao.

PRDP is “a six-year national government platform for an inclusive, value-chain oriented and climate-resilient agriculture and fisheries sector expected to raise total funds of close to P28 billion from a loan portfolio of the WB and equity share of national and local government units,” Dayao noted.

The program to be implemented in the six provinces of Bicol is the "upscale" version of the successful Mindanao Rural Development Program, he said.

With funding support from the EU’s Disaster Preparedness- European Commission's Humanitarian Office, the EC-DRRA will be implemented for 18 months in Albay, Sorsogon and Catanduanes.

“It aims to enhance the livelihood resilience of small farmers and fisherfolk in disaster-prone areas through institutionalization of disaster risk reduction (DRR) in agriculture,” Dayao said.

The project will build on the outcome of "Strengthening Capacities for Climate Risk Management and Disaster Preparedness in Selected Municipalities of Bicol Region," an earlier Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) project implemented in Bicol from 2009 to 2011.

A FAO Japanese-funded project, entitled "Analysis and Mapping of Impacts under Climate Change for Adaptation and Food Security Project, which also built on the experiences and results of FAO projects on climate change adaptation and DRR management, is closely tied with these WB and EU projects, Dayao noted.

Stakeholders are laying the ground work for the two projects by conducting briefings and orientation involving various partner agencies like local government units, state colleges and universities and the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, he said.

Data gathering and other ground works necessary for the implementation of the projects are also ongoing with the Agriculture regional office as overall project coordinator and manager, Dayao added. — VS, GMA News