Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Philippines to generate over 1-M jobs from WB rural farm projects in Mindanao


DAVAO CITY (PNA) -- The government is expected to generate over one million jobs for farmers and beneficiaries of the Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP) that will be implemented this year by the Department of Agriculture (DA).

DA Undersecretary for Operations Jesus Emmanuel Paras said the MRDP project is part of the overall government multi-billion peso stimulus package of the government to stimulate the Philippine economy amidst the global recession now crippling the world's giant economies.

"Based on our rule of thumb estimates, yes, it's possible the MRDP project this year can generate over one million jobs for farmers and their beneficiaries in Mindanao," Paras told reporters during a recent media forum here.

For rural infrastructure alone, Paras said a total budget of $ 43 million (approx. P2 billion) has been set aside this year for the construction and repairs of farm-to-market roads, post-harvest facilities, irrigation systems, portable water systems and other farm projects.

As of December last year, the government has already released P114 million for 13 rural infrastructure projects and P57.5 million for 23 livelihood projects in the regions of Caraga, Northern Mindanao, Western Mindanao and Central Mindanao.

"This project has to start immediately, we cannot wait as the full impact of the global recession will soon be felt by Filipinos, especially the poorest of the poor in the rural areas," Paras said.

Funded partly by the World Bank, the MRDP requires a 50 percent share from regional and provincial governments where the various rural infrastructure projects will be implemented.

Project proposals to be funded partly by the World Bank are submitted by these local government units to the DA for review and approval.

The number of farmers, laborers, contract workers and the business opportunities that will grow out of all these projects all over Mindanao, Paras said, can reach over one million people "directly or indirectly benefited by the various MRDP projects" all over Mindanao. (PNA)

WB-gov’t to spend $ 43M in Mindanao to boost farmers' income

DAVAO CITY (PNA) -- Billions of pesos spent on various rural infrastructure projects in Mindanao are expected to boost farmers' income, generate a million jobs and soften the impact of the global recession in the Philippines.

"We're doing everything to make sure these funds are well-spent in this process of pump priming the country's economy through various rural infrastructure projects," said World Bank Task Team Leader Carolina Geron during a recent media forum here.

Geron is working closely with the Department of Agriculture (DA) to set into motion one of the government's stimulus package, the Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP) whose rural infrastructure projects in the island will be funded with $ 43 million to come from the World Bank and local government units, split 50-50.

The MRDP is a five-year program launched in 2007 jointly funded by the national government, local government units and the World Bank.

It sets into motion various infrastructure projects in the countryside like farm-to-market roads, bridges, rural water supply and irrigation systems.

DA Undersecretary for Operations Jesus Emmanuel Paras said the government has expressed deep concern for Filipino farmers in the rural areas, specially the poorest areas amidst the global recession.

"We've got to help these poor farmers, they have nowhere to go in this global crisis except to the government--and we're here to help them," Paras said.

Spending billions of pesos on various farm projects in the rural areas will definitely help stimulate the economy of this southern island and cushion the full impact of the global crisis, he added.

So far, some P163 million had been released to 19 towns all over Mindanao after 75 of their various rural infrastructure projects were approved by DA and the World Bank in December last year, according to Paras.

Paras said the government has also funded various livelihood projects in Mindanao recently, releasing P67.5 million to local government units in the island's five regions.

These livelihood projects which are expected to soften the full brunt of the global recession this year, include small-time food processing, commercial vegetable growing, pig raising, cattle fattening, poultry and egg production, he said.

"We're hoping all these funds will be released by governors or town mayors directly to farmers and beneficiaries of these livelihood projects instead of being diverted elsewhere," Paras said. (PNA)

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