With the release of the second additional financing worth 280 million dollars (P14 billion) for the implementation of the Department of Agriculture Philippine Rural Development Project’s (DA-PRDP), the Project’s enterprise development (I-REAP) component in Bicol is now conducting social preparation activities to stakeholders including proponent group officers and members and implementing Provincial Project Management and Implementation Units (PPMIU) of Catanduanes and Masbate.

PRDP-Bicol I-REAP Business Development Officer Victoria Eugene Florece and Project Development Associate Angelica Peñano conducted a consultation and orientation as well as business modelling with Provincial Agriculturist Nelia Teves and its selected PG, ARDCI Microfinance Inc. represented by its Project Manager Dennis Timbal in Virac, Catanduanes on September 27 to 30, 2021. ARDCI is a non-government organization (NGO) with 892 members engaged in backyard swine raising. PPMIU-Catanduanes is seeking for I-REAP funding for its plan to invest in integrated swine enterprise and feed mill processing. The proposed I-REAP subproject targets to benefit 124 farmer-members in three adjacent barangays in Virac, Catanduanes with an expansion plan to include all farmer-members provincewide.

Florece and Peñano also visited the 2.3-hectare site for the proposed swine facility, feed mill and processing center in Virac. Florece also met with Municipal Agriculturist Eduardo V. Taopo, Jr. of Bato, Israel Dela Rosa, OIC-Municipal Agriculturist of Caramoran, and Agricultural Technician Robert Glenn Padilla of San Miguel to discuss the priority commodity of the province and possible I-REAP interventions in their respective area.

Likewise, PRDP-Bicol I-REAP Business Development Officer Glenn Balana conducted a planning and orientation with Engr. Jonel Orteza, the Provincial Agriculturist of Masbate and Irish Cabrera, Municipal Agriculturist of Dimasalang on October 15, 2021 to prepare them for I-REAP subprojects implementation. The province eyes for I-REAP investments in support to its priority commodities including goat, coconut charcoal, native chicken, seaweeds, and swine.

Aside from social preparation activities, PRDP will also provide its I-REAP subproject beneficiaries and partner local government units with capacity building program which includes business plan preparation, financial management, geotagging, and social and environmental safeguards to equip them in implementing PRDP-funded enterprises.

Under the PRDP I-REAP retrofitted second additional financing with EU co-financing grant Operations Manual, financing mix for I-REAP subprojects will be divided into 60 percent (World Bank Loan Proceeds), 20 percent (Department of Agriculture) and 20 percent proponent group counterpart in cash or in-kind.

I-REAP is one of the four components of PRDP, a World Bank-assisted project being implemented by the DA, designed to strengthen and develop viable agri-fishery based enterprises through efficient value chains of key agri-fishery products in targeted project areas. (Annielyn L. Baleza, DA RAFIS V/PRDP RPCO V InfoACE Unit)