The World Bank (WB) has approved US$99.3 million in financing for the Philippine agrarian reform program that would benefit 300,000 farmers and farm workers under a new government project designed to enhance the competitiveness of agrarian reform communities.
To be implemented over five years by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), the Inclusive Partnerships for Agricultural Competitiveness (IPAC) Project 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. World Bank financing will comprise $99.3 million of the $231 million project, as approved today by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors, while the government and beneficiaries contribute $131 million and $28 million, respectively.
The Philippine government would contribute US$131 million to the project to be implemented among agrarian reform community clusters across 44 provinces. The objective of the project is to 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 country’s agrarian reform program gives lands to landless farmers, but we don’t stop there,” said Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano. “The government also provides support services. Through the farmer-driven matching grants, IPAC will strengthen our efforts to help small-holder farmers and their organizations engage in sustainable agri-enterprise projects. This will raise their incomes and help them become self-reliant.”
The matching grants, which are channeled through farmers’ organizations, support a number of initiatives, including production facilities such as nurseries and green-houses; processing and marketing facilities; production of high-value agricultural products; promotion and investments in food safety; and product development.
“Through the project, farmers and other beneficiaries will be able to directly identify and implement activities that will empower them to improve their lives,” said World Bank Country Director for the Philippines Mara K. Warwick. “As a long-term partner of the Philippines, the World Bank supports the country’s efforts to develop a competitive farming sector that may bring down poverty and vulnerability in rural areas.”
The project builds on previous community-driven development projects supported by the Bank which provided farmers and rural communities with basic infrastructure, including irrigation systems, roads and bridges. These initiatives also helped farmers improved their ability to manage their enterprises.
At least 30% of the beneficiaries are women, and 20% suffer from poverty. The targeted provinces include:
- Abra and Benguet in the Cordillera Administrative Region;
- La Union, Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte in Region 1;
- Cagayan, Isabela, and Nueva Vizcaya in Region 2;
- Bulacan, Bataan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales in Region 3;
- Batangas and Quezon in Region 4-A;
- Marinduque, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro and Palawan in Region 4-B;
- Albay, Camarines Sur, Masbate, Sorsogon and Camarines Norte in Region 5;
- Aklan, Capiz, Iloilo and Negros Occidental in Region 6;
- Bohol, Cebu and Negros Oriental in Region 7;
- Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern Samar and Western Samar in Region 8;
- Misamis Occidental in Region 10;
- Davao del Norte and Davao Oriental in Region 11;
- Sarangani in Region 12; and
- Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur and Basilan in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.