A hundred and one mostly small short-gestation projects in Northern Mindanao funded jointly by the World Bank, national agencies and local government units, have been completed under the Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP) Phase 2, a project report said.

Originally introduced in 2001, MRDP’s second phase has an estimated cost of $123.8 million. It was designed to pump-prime Mindanao’s economy by implementing poverty reduction projects in 225 towns across 26 provinces.

The current program phase started in 2007 and is due to end in 2012.

All six regions in Mindanao share the total program budget.

In Northern Mindanao, the program covers all the five provinces in the region, namely: Bukidnon, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental and Misamis Oriental. The completed projects, however, do not include those in the province of Camiguin.

Under MRDP’s Community Fund for Agricultural Development component, 85 peoples’ organizations from Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental and Misamis Oriental received various forms of assistance for small infrastructure, food security initiatives, as well as community-managed livelihood and agribusiness projects.

Twelve farm-to-market roads under the Rural Infrastructure Component costing more than P63 million are now completed, covering more than 14,500 hectares of rice and corn areas. These projects are located in the provinces of Bukidnon and Lanao del Norte.

Also under the rural infrastructure initiative is a potable water system installed in the town of Impasug-ong, Bukidnon benefitting 250 households of local tribes.

The Rural Infrastructure Component has the biggest share in the program’s budget, with $84 million for the entire island of Mindanao.

Under the Natural Resources Management Component, the program released P7 million for local environmental protection work in the municipality of Linamon, Lanao del Norte. This covered the rehabilitation and protection of the Tinago sub-watershed, rehabilitation of the Larapan riverbank, and coral transplantation.

Other MRDP projects already completed, or still ongoing, in Northern Mindanao involve livestock and crop production, farm machinery and post-harvest facilities support, promotion of food processing and aquaculture, as well as boosting agro-forestry and mangrove plantation initiatives.

In the last program assessment, the World Bank pushed for the transformation of subsistence farming in rural Mindanao to sustainable agribusinesses, encouraging farmers to be entrepreneurial.

Article by Louise Dumas of Business World

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