Agriculture secretary Proceso J. Alcala committed during his meeting recently with over a hundred local chief executives in Mindanao he will lead development of rural Mindanao and reduce poverty in this part of the country.
“Mindanao is blessed with vast agricultural potential, you have rich soil and less typhoons visit the region,” Alcala said.
“From this day, I will be the team captain of the Mindanao Rural Development Program(MRDP) ,” he said.
MRDP is the flagship poverty alleviation initiative of DA through farm infrastructure and agri-based livelihoods. It is jointly funded by the loan portfolio from the World Bank, the national government and the 225 enrolled local government units (LGUs) across the six regions in Mindanao.
Now approaching its mid-term, MRDP has total funds of US$123.93 million to be spent up to 2013. It puts premium on agricultural infrastructures, like from to market roads, irrigation, potable waters systems, bridges and post harvest facilities.
MRDP applies 50:50 counter-parting scheme where 50 percent of the total cost is shouldered by the program and the rest is shouldered by the LGU.
“The Department will take the 40 percent of the equity share as we have learned that some LGUs have difficult time putting up their equity share in the implementation of the projects,” Alcala said.
He added that DA will allot higher budget for Mindanao in this administration.
“As long as I enjoy the trust of the President, I will continue to support LGUs in their equity share,” he said.
“This new scheme will definitely bring in more projects to benefit farmers in Mindanao,” he added.
The adjustment of counterpart funding schemes follows the impressive review of MRDP projects that have continuously built up the agriculture potential of Mindanao .
MRDP program director Lealyn A. Ramos said that the Program now has a total of P6.4 billion worth of various infrastructure projects at various stage of implementation.
“We are proud of how we have built up our portfolio but the bigger chunk of this is still at the preparation stage as LGUs are still hard up in coming up with their counterpart,” she said.
“We are happy the Sec. Alcala assures his commitment to support the LGUs specially in the counterpart which had been a major bottleneck in our implementation,” Ramos added.(Sherwin B. Manual/DA-MRDP)