About 5,195 Bicolanos in provinces with high poverty incidents in the region are projected to benefit from four subprojects (SPs) approved and endorsed for Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) funding by the Project’s advisory board on April 21, 2017.
The Regional Project Advisory Board (RPAB) composed of heads or representatives of government agencies approved three enterprise development (I-REAP) proposals by proponent groups from Masbate, Catanduanes and Albay with a total amount worth P34.03 million and one infrastructure development (I-BUILD) project in Catanduanes which costs P92.12 million.
The Concreting of the seven-kilometer Caramoran Junction Sabangan-Datag East Farm to Market Road in Caramoran, Catanduanes will resolve limited access to abaca production areas and reduce freight and hauling cost of agricultural produce. The P92.18 million-worth FMR, the province’s first I-BUILD SP, also intends to reduce poverty incidence in the project influence area. According to the Community-based Monitoring System 2014, the project influence area has a poverty incidence of 39.31 or equivalent to 2,071 households.
The RPAB also approved the Masbate Goat Production and Marketing I-REAP SP proposed by clustered proponent groups in Cataingan, Palanas, Baleno and Aroroy, Masbate. With QUENSCUP Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries and Marginal Farmers Cooperative as lead proponent group, the P14.14 million-worth enterprise is the province’s first I-REAP SP which will focus on genetic improvement service and live goat for slaughter to benefit 1,099 members.
“Maraming salamat at naabot din kami ng serbisyo ng pamahalaan after a long period of time. Sa tulong ng PRDP magkakaroon ng permanenteng buyer or market yung mga products ng mga farmer-members at magkakaroon sila ng pagkakataon na mag-alaga ng kambing at sa pamamagitan noon, madagdagan din ang kanilang kita (We are thankful that finally, we were reached by government service after a long period of time. With the help of PRDP, farmer-members’ products will have a permanent buyer or market. They will also have the opportunity to raise goats and raise their incomes),” Zaldy D. Rapsing, president of the Baleno Christian Masagana Multi-purpose Cooperative, said.
Meanwhile, Camote Creations Farmers and Entrepreneurs Producers Cooperative’s Sweet Potato-based Products Processing Enterprise in Daraga, Albay is projected to benefit 48 members with the proposed provision of a 252 square-meter processing center, upgrading of processing equipment, and provision of a hauling truck and delivery vehicle. The P10.43 million-worth SP is Albay’s second regular SP approved for PRDP funding next to Albay Coco Geonets Manufacturing Project, which is now under procurement and implementation of its I-BUILD component.
“Gusto namin hindi lang maging profitable yung enterprise but ma-recognize ng farmers na ang farming is a good occupation. When we see the impact, this will serve as a model (We want not only a profitable enterprise but also one that would help farmers recognize that farming is a good occupation. When we see the impact, this will serve as a model),” Nolan Belaro, president of Camote Creations Farmers and Enterpreneurs Producers Cooperative, said.
Catanduanes’ second regular I-REAP SP on Mangrove Crab Production and Marketing Enterprise to be implemented by the Panganiban Fisherfolk Association Inc. was also approved and endorsed for PRDP funding by the RPAB. The P9.46 million-worth enterprise is expected to benefit 132 members with the construction of a buying center, office building as well as provision of assorted tools, equipment and vehicles.
“Sa ngayon, individual ang approach ng mga mangrove crab farmers. Kanya-kanya sila ng huli tapos kung sino ang bibili, pinagbibili. This time, may buying center tayong i-eestablish na kung saan doon pwedeng dalhin lahat ng huli nila either crablets or market-size crabs. So merong bibili at magpapabili (Currently, mangrove crab farmers take the individual approach in which they would individually catch and sell mangrove crabs. This time, a buying center will be established where they can bring their crablets or market-size crabs),” Romeo Aquino, PRDP Co-coordinator of the Provincial Project Management and Implementation Unit of Catanduanes, said.
Reports from the National Statistics Coordination Board (NSCB) 2012 show that Masbate has the highest poverty incidence in Bicol at 53.73 percent. Meanwhile, Catanduanes and Albay accounts for 34.77 percent and 38.03 percent of the region’s poverty incidents, respectively.
The PRDP is a six-year World Bank-assisted project aimed at reducing poverty in the countryside by investing in an inclusive, climate-resilient and value chain-oriented agri-fishery sector. The Project partners with provincial and municipal local government units as well as the private sector in providing key infrastructures, facilities and technology to increase rural incomes, productivity and competitiveness. (Annielyn L. Baleza, DA-PRDP RPCO V InfoACE Unit)