PHASE 2 OF WORLD BANK-FUNDED DEVPT PROJECT IN MINDANAO STARTS SOON

MANILA,  February 25, 2004 (STAR) By Rocel C. Felix - The Department of Agriculture (DA) will soon start the second phase of the $551-million World Bank (WB)-assisted Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP), the biggest comprehensive rural development program of the government in the region.

The five-year Phase II or MRDP will cost $120 million while the first phase, completed last year, cost an estimated P950 million. The entire MRDP will be implemented over a period of 15 years.

DA Undersecretary for regional operations Edmund J. Sana said the department is now laying the groundwork for MRDP-2 following the approval by the Japanese government of a $988,000 grant to facilitate project preparation activities.

"The grant activities will support the provision of technical assistance for defining project interventions," said Sana.

Sana said a pool of technical experts will assess the impact of the devolved institutional arrangements done under the MRDP Adaptable Loan Program (ALP) 1, one of the key components of the MRDP 2. The other components are coastal resources management and environmental management.

"An update will be done on the impact of participating institutions like the DA-regional field units, local government units (LGUs) and others, it will focus on their capabilities and constraints in agricultural service delivery in a decentralized set-up," Sana said.

The $120-million MRDP 2 will be expanded to 13 impoverished provinces in Mindanao. The project aims to improve income, food security, access to livelihood opportunities and agricultural and fisheries service delivery in the targeted rural communities and LGUs in Mindanao.

The program will replicate the success of ALP 1 on community involvement and LGU capacity building; expansion of the geographic scope of the program; intensifying the level of commitment of LGUs and communities on planning and prioritizing local investments; local resource generation and mobilization, and micro-enterprise development.

A WB mission last year expressed satisfaction on the implementation of MRDP 1.

A total of P350-million worth of projects were implemented in five provinces covered. These include 51 farm-to-market roads; 18 communal irrigation projects; two bridges; 13 units of potable water supply; 831 livelihood projects and 44 technology demonstration farms.

Nearly P600 million worth of infrastructure projects are also in various stages of implementation. These include P431-million worth of farm-to-market roads; 20 irrigation projects and five bridge projects.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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