World Bank loan for local farm projects


THE World Bank has approved a $99.3-million loan to partly finance a project in the Philippine aimed at improving farmers’ competitiveness and market access.

According to reports written by Ben O. de Vera of the PDI , the World Bank- a Washington-based multilateral lender said its board of directors on June 9 approved financing for the Philippines’ $231-million Inclusive Partnerships for Agricultural Competitiveness (Ipac) project.

The Department of Agrarian Reform-led undertaking will also be financed by the government ($131 million) and the beneficiaries ($28 million).

The World Bank said about 300,000 farmers and farm workers stood to benefit from the project, which will support the efforts of farmer organizations to improve productivity and the quality of products as well as find more markets in order to raise farmers’ incomes.

Among the targeted beneficiaries, 20 percent were poor and 30 percent were women, the World Bank said.

The project, to be rolled out among agrarian reform community clusters across 44 provinces, will also help strengthen the capacity of farmer organizations to engage in commercial agriculture, provide extension services, develop enterprises, secure individual land titles for their members and improve rural infrastructure, the bank added.

The provinces that will benefit from the project include Abra, Aklan, Albay, Bataan, Basilan, Batangas, Benguet, Bohol, Bulacan, Cagayan, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Capiz, Cebu, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, Eastern Samar, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Iloilo, Isabela, La Union, Lanao del Sur, Leyte, Maguindanao, Marinduque, Masbate, Misamis Occidental, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Northern Samar, Sarangani, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Viscaya, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Palawan, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Quezon, Sorsogon, Tarlac, Western Samar and Zambales.

Agrarian Reform Sec. Ka Paeng Mariano in a letter to a local farmers federation indicated DAR’s inability to provide funding to a proposed commercial venture of 1,000 farmers clustering their 1,000 hectare farms to be able to operate their own rice mill with a power plant and organic fertilizers plant.

The World Bank loan should now solve his problem of funding when properly implemented. It should not be a dole out as in the past, since it is a loan that should be paid back at least to the government by the farmers that will benefit from the funds.

We suggest that Sec.Mariano should select several farmer federations and provide a Trust Fund for them to initiate and adopt cluster farming as an approach and payback the trust fund through replication. 

With proper monitoring, the World Bank loan can multiply 100 times to benefit more that what it targeted. 

Farmer federations with similar programs as announced by the World Bank have been applying for a US$ 10 M loan with the government and various banks but have failed because of lack of a track record. 

This is why farmer federations and cooperatives have not been able to avail of loans to put up their agribusiness as fast as it should.

That is because a statistical report hidden from the public that the production index of Philippine agriculture especially in rice has been stagnant and could hardly meet the needs of a growing population. 

And so we are short by 20% in food sufficiency and not 2% as claimed by the previous administration.

Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte should now shift is WAR ON DRUGS to a WAR ON POVERTY especially now that his health is deteriorating.  

He might miss the boat of becoming the President that has eradicated poverty in the countryside and trigger the growth of Philippine Agriculture that will be inclusive. 


(This column was initially maintained by VL Sonny Domingo  a farmer leader and now a member of the Board of Agriculture, as GRAIN OF SALT at the Green and Gold of U.P. College of Agriculture, then as FOODLINE at the Manila Chronicle. It now appears in this magazine as a continuing advocacy of the columnist to bring to the attention of leaders and policy makers the real score in the development of the natural resources of the country and the disadvantage sectors. Publisher)