TABACO CITY, ALBAY – Accessible via a 25-minute boat ride from Tabaco City, “habal-habal” (single motorcycle) is the only mode of transportation from the port in Brgy. Hacienda to Rawis, the farthest barangay in San Miguel Island. Each trip costs P150 both for passengers and cargo with an average loading capacity of one sack at 40 kilograms per sack.

Among the dominant crops in the island are sweet potato, coconut, rice, corn, gabi and banana. However, the existing single lane road network, which is half the width of a regular lane, makes transporting agricultural products in the island more challenging. Thus, the Rehabilitation/Improvement of the 8.30-kilometer Hacienda to Rawis Farm-to-Market Road (FMR) intends to promote inclusive growth for island-dwellers in San Miguel.

The P198.69 million-worth infrastructure development (I-BUILD) subproject is designed to support the logistics section of the value chain segment for sweet potato in the Province of Albay. Tabaco City, in particular San Miguel Island, is the second biggest source of sweet potato in the province with 230.8 hectares planted with the cash crop. Hence, it is eyed as a supplier of raw materials to PRDP’s P12.30 million-worth enterprise development (I-REAP) subproject, Sweet Potato-based Products Processing Enterprise to be implemented by the Camote Creations Farmers and Entrepreneurs Producers Cooperative (CCFEPC).

The Rehabilitation/Improvement of Hacienda to Rawis FMR is also projected to reduce the hauling cost of agricultural inputs and products by approximately 50 percent, lessen post-harvest losses, and increase the number of vehicles plying the road influence area. Moreover, the subproject will reduce commuters’ travel time by an average of 30 minutes per trip.

To fast-track the procurement process of the I-BUILD subproject in San Miguel Island, a team from PRDP-Bicol conducted a Coaching on Procurement Process and Implementation Management Agreement (IMA) on January 10, 2019, this city. The pre-bid conference for the Rehabilitation/Improvement of Hacienda to Rawis FMR is scheduled on February 6, 2019. (Annielyn L. Baleza, DA-RAFIS V)