Four (4) important projects of the Department of Agriculture (DA) VIII were endorsed during the Virtual Special RDC VIII-Executive Committee Meeting on 29 October 2020.

The (1) Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) Second Additional Financing (AF2) amounting to USD280 Million for COVID-19 Response; (2) Solar-Powered Fertigation System Project (SPFSP); (3) One Eastern Visayas Food Security and Agricultural Development Plan; and (4) Proposed One-Year Extension of the Fisheries, Coastal Resources, and Livelihood (FishCORAL) Project were endorsed by the body paving the way for projects that will be crucial contributors to the recovery of Eastern Visayas post-COVID 19.

The USD280 Million additional funding for the PRDP supports the regional thrust of agricultural development and regional productivity and contribute to the country’s commitment towards achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), particularly on no poverty (SDG1), zero hunger (SDG2), industry, innovation and infrastructure (SDG9), and responsible consumption and production (SDG12).

Meanwhile, the SPFSP, a partnership between the Philippine Government and the Mashav, Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, aims to increase farmers’ income by improving the productivity of rainfed areas by at least 20 percent. It is designed to establish solar-powered pump irrigation systems that features cost-efficient fertilization and irrigation.

The Committee also endorsed the One Eastern Visayas Food Security and Agricultural Development Plan which seeks to address identifiable gaps under a value chain-oriented commodity development approach. It aims to (1) increase the production and productivity of food staples and select cash crops to increase sufficiency indices and contribute to achieving food security in the region; (2) generate jobs from the construction of agricultural infrastructures, the production of crops and commodities, post-harvest handling and processing; and (3) provide support to agricultural startups in product development, compliance with regulations, and link up to sources of raw materials, financing and market.

Finally, the Committee endorsed the one-year extension of the FishCORAL Project which will allow it to overcome the constraints to its activities brought by the pandemic and thereby accomplish its remaining targets. Since its inception, the project has strengthened the capability of local government units (LGUs) and fishing communities to enforce the sustainable management of its fisheries and coastal resources and established income diversification projects of fisherfolk households and groups, supported by processing and post-harvest equipment and facilities.

In the same meeting, the Committee also approved the creation of a special regional committee on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the increase of the RDC VIII-Private Sector Representatives’ (PSRs’) honoraria.

Article and Photos by:  Knulp Aseo, NEDA VIII