The World Bank’s 3rd Support Mission to Philippine Rural Development Project recently oficially kicked-off their events at the DA central office in Quezon City.  The mission seeks to review the achievements towards the project development objectives (PDOs) and continue the review and discussions on the Government’s proposal for additional financing from the World Bank, among others.

At the end of the mission, the DA hopes that it will have discussed and agreed with the World Bank and other stakeholders the solutions for technical issues that have arisen since the previous mission.

A team of experts from the World Bank headed by Frauke Jungbluth, the lead agriculture economist and task team leader of the mission, attended the meetings and subproject site visits in the Project’s clusters in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” F. Piñol said that as of November 4, 2016, the infrastructure component of the Project has so far approved the funding of 354 infrastructure development subprojects worth P17.75 billion and 215 enterprise development subprojects worth P540.67. million.

“We are in the process of comprehensively documenting these emerging benefits—which may be social, economic and even environmental and political—and we are encouraging our grassroots partners to harness these to optimize future Project outcomes,” Cayanan said.

Among these benefits documented by the Project include improved access to education and healthcare facilities, higher retention rates among students, increased number of tourists, increased real estate value, among others.

This translates to 71 of the 81 targeted provinces already having approved subprojects under the Project and P18.3 billion-worth of assistance for high value commodities such as abaca, coconut, banana, dairy coffee, cacao and goat. “Most of the approved infrastructure subprojects are farm-to-market roads (FMRs), the equivalent length of which totals to 1,318.11 kilometers, including an additional 226 kilometer-long FMRs with bridges. We have already completed 18 FMRs  stretching to 57 kilometers, while 179 FMRs equivalent to 668 kilometers are at various stages of construction,” Piñol said.