The World Bank (WB) announced that it had approved a $100-million loan for a program which aims to increase farm productivity in Mindanao.
The Washington-based multilateral lender said over the weekend that its board of directors had given the go-signal for the Mindanao Inclusive Agriculture Development Project (MIADP).
It said around 120,000 farmers and fishers in selected ancestral domains in Mindanao are set to benefit as the program aims to increase agricultural productivity, resilience, and services while also protecting the natural resources of these ancestral domains.
The lender noted that Mindanao contributes 33.4 percent of the total value of agricultural production in the Philippines, exceeded by Luzon at 39.2 percent and followed by Visayas at 27.4 percent.
It added that the southern Philippine main island has a considerable amount of agricultural land in ancestral domains that remains unused or under subsistence cultivation by indigenous peoples.
The lender said several barriers hinder development in ancestral domains, including inadequate road infrastructure, frequent landslides causing extended periods of isolation, and limited access to technical services, markets, finance, electricity, the internet and telephone services.
The MIADP will fund infrastructure investments to help address some of these barriers and “foster stronger connections between ancestral domains and markets,” the World Bank said in a statement.
These will include the rehabilitation or restoration of roads and bridges, the installation of agricultural tramline systems, and the construction of small-scale and solar-powered irrigation systems.
In addition, the project will provide potable water systems and post-harvest facilities such as storage units and trading posts.
Ndiamé Diop, WB country director for Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand said, “Mindanao is home to about 25 percent of the Philippines’s population but accounts for 35 percent of the country’s poor.”
“Poverty in indigenous cultural communities is even higher, with 68 percent living below the poverty line. Initiatives that aim to improve people’s living conditions while actively involving them are vital for strengthening inclusive growth in the country.”
The Department of Agriculture will manage and implement MIADP.
Image credits: www.da.gov.ph