AGRI ROADS. Additional roads and enterprise projects in far-flung communities are constructed like this road in Bauko, Mountain Province turned over sometime in November 2021. The Department of Agriculture’s Philippine Rural Development Project provides supplemental funds to the regular budget of the department for more activities and infrastructures that aim to boost the lives of small farmers in rural areas. (PNA file photo)

BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera Regional Project Advisory Board (RPAB) of the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) under the Department of Agriculture (DA) has approved and endorsed four sub-projects that aim to further boost agriculture in the region.

Dr. Cameron Odsey, regional director of the DA-Cordillera Administration Region (CAR) and DA-PRDP regional board chairman, said the projects approved during the board meeting last Sept. 30 include the PHP8.025-million hauling and delivery services of a farmer's cooperative in Kabayan, Benguet; the construction of Central Mayoyao Level II potable water system (PWS) worth PHP95.089 million; construction of Aguinaldo Level II PWS worth PHP17.939 million; and the Improvement of Pula-Cawayan-Camadag farm-to-market road (FMR) with bridge in Asipulo, Ifugao costing PHP186.993 million.

"PRDP supplements the lack of budgets under the regular banner programs. The proposed projects are livelihood/enterprise and infrastructure projects that will further boost the agricultural industry in the provinces and improve the income of the farmers,” he said in a messenger on Monday.

For two of the four sub-projects, the PSW in Aguinaldo was re-endorsed due to the necessary variations that were found during the subproject appraisal which led to an increase in project cost.

Previously terminated, the FMR was repackaged with the inclusion of additional structures such as an increase in the costs of labor and materials and the realignment from the original loan funding to the second Additional Financing (AF2).

The PRDP board is composed of members from the DA, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Agrarian Reform, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, and DA-Regional Agriculture and Fisheries Council.

Odsey said the proponent group or the local government units (LGU) had to show the relevance and feasibility of the projects presented, including the benefits to the communities.

The proposal also included the business plan, future market expansion plan, product development, and crop programming for the enterprise project.

The watershed conservation issue was raised for the infrastructure projects, citing the sustainable traditional and indigenous forest resources management systems and practices utilized in the locality.

Odsey said sub-projects are scrutinized before approval and endorsement by the national PRDP board with stringent requirements for implementation.

"We also compete with the other regions for the funding that is why, we have to assure the viability of the project aside from the relevance, especially to the small farmers," he said.

The PRDP is a loan obtained by the national government through the DA with the financial requirement of the project being shared by the national government and the local government or the farmers' organization that proposes the enterprise projects.

Odsey said Cordillera has obtained several projects under the PRDP, especially FMR projects on the outskirts.

"Marami na tayong na construct na kalsada at naparating sa mga area kung saan may agricultural activities kaya rin nagkakaroon ng expansion ng mga plantation areas at dumadami ang na-e-encourage na magtanim ng high-value crops (several roads have been constructed in agricultural areas that encourage farmers to plant high-value crops)," he said. (PNA)