New Agri Engagement. World Bank Senior Financial Sector Specialist Nataliya Mylenko (left), Lead Agriculture Economist and Task Team Leader for the PRDP Frauke Jungbluth (second from left) and Country Director Mara Warwick (third from left) discuss with Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Manny Piñol (right) initial ideas on the proposed new engagement of the Bank with the Philippine government on agricultural development in Mindanao. They are joined by Arnel de Mesa (second from right), the national deputy director of the DA's Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP), the offshoot of the Mindanao Rural Development Program, which was also assisted by the World Bank. (Photo by Kathrino Resurreccion, DA-PRDP NPCO InfoACE Unit)

On top of DA-PRDP, World Bank eyes new agri programs for Mindanao

Date Published: January 29, 2017

While the implementation of the Department of Agriculture’s Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP) is still in full swing, the World Bank is already considering additional projects for Mindanao, consistent with the government’s inclusive agriculture paradigm.

In a recent meeting with top DA officials, the World Bank expressed its interest for the conceptualization and roll-out of agricultural development programs post-PRDP implementation in 2021, as well as smaller interventions that may be immediately implemented in addition to subprojects currently being implemented under the PRDP.

The Bank is eyeing Mindanao as the pilot area for this new engagement with the Philippine government, following the steps taken under the Mindanao Rural Development Program, the PRDP’s precursor.

Mara Warwick, the Bank’s country director, said that her team had earlier met with the Department of Finance and discussed a broader framework of engagement for Mindanao and other areas of the country. Initial ideas framed an engagement that would focus on comprehensively improving agricultural productivity along key value chains, hence strengthening production, connectivity and logistics, including human capital.

Warwick added that on top of the PRDP, the Bank considers exploring new program models that may be more community based. These may not also necessarily follow the requirements observed under the PRDP.

DA Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol expressed his appreciation of the Bank’s continued interest, saying that even during the implementation of Mindanao Rural Development Program—which eventually evolved into what the PRDP is now—the engagements with the Bank have shown good potentials.

Asked for his initial ideas, Secretary Piñol cited Sulu as a particular province in Mindanao the current administration feels the need for immediate response because of security-related issues.

“The government cannot win this ‘war’ by killing the Abu Sayyaf but by addressing poverty in the province,” the agriculture chief said, adding that just like what happened in Germany during the World War II, the most effective way of liberating an area from the hands of the enemies is through immediate development of that area.

Secretary Piñol added that for the war against poverty in Sulu to be effective, there is a need to put up a barangay center, a post-harvest facility, a water system, and immediately introduce livelihood projects after liberating a village,” the DA Secretary explained.

The World Bank is planning to conduct field scoping missions in the last week of January, with various teams looking into possible engagement areas like trade, connectivity, human development, road network and logistics, and agricultural productivity. ### (Alladin S. Diega, InfoACE NPCO)

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