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Funding to come from foreign agency

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will provide $3 million in grant and $62.9 million in loan for the Rural Agro-enterprise Partnerships for Inclusive Development and Growth (RAPID Growth) project which is expected to kick off this year.

RAPID Growth, which will support both the farmers and the micro, small and medium enterprises by linking them, is being spearheaded by Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

The implementation of the project aims to increase incomes of farmers by 60% and double the profits of micro, small and medium enterprises.

Alessandro Martini, IFAD country director, said the project is just the fifth in its portfolio as it has set aside $175 million for five projects in the country. Other projects include the Convergence on Value Chain Enhancement for Rural Growth and Empowerment, Fisheries, Coastal Resources and Livelihood Project, Integrated Natural Resources and Environmental Management Project, and the Second Cordillera Highland Agricultural Resource Management Project (CHARMP II).

IFAD, with the Philippines as among the founding members, is an international financial institution and a specialized agency of the United Nations. It invests and provides support to agricultural projects through grants and loans.

Aside from IFAD, local government units and farm cooepratives will also help in the implementation of the project through their counterpart, while banks will also provide other needed financial help.

Yolando Arban IFAD Philippines country program special adviser, said that beneficiaries are chosen if they live in provinces with high poverty incident, a commodity is present, and that the same commodity can become an agent of economic growth for the locality.

The officials said that since agriculture is considered the backbone in Mindanao and that half of the 10 poorest provinces in the country are in the island, it is better to consider developing the sector.

They added that the goal of the project follows the IFAD development agenda which is “to focus on the delivery of inclusive and sustainable rural transformation and its objective of investing in rural people to enable them to overcome poverty and achieve food security.”

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