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Private sector to consult on Philippines agri infrastructure project

The World Bank and the Global Environment Facility have invested $508m in the Philippines Rural Development Fund.

The World Bank and the Global Environment Facility, a World Bank spin out institution, have co-invested $508 million in the Philippines Rural Development Project, which is targeting development of the country’s agriculture and fisheries infrastructure.

Private sector consultants are being drafted in to identify priority value chains and provide marketing contracts, according to Carol Figueroa-Geron, lead rural development specialist at the World Bank’s Manila office and team leader of the project.

And the project hopes to improve the flow of private sector investment into the country’s agri-forestry sector more generally by using the funding to improve trade in the sector, facilitate trial shipments and assist local businesses in preparing market contracts, according to Charlotte Gobin, senior environmental specialist at GEF. The targeted enterprises will be those that show interest in grouping together to attract private investment.

“The priority enterprises will be those producing commodities included in priority value chains and have the potential to increase their marketable surplus,” she said. “[We’re also focusing on ] smallholder groups that can produce a marketable surplus and will be be willing to voluntarily adopt other grower clusters and forge contracts with private intermediaries,” she said.

The World Bank is providing the majority of the financing, contributing a $501 million loan, while the Global Environment Facility is contributing the remaining $7 million through a grant. GEF’s contribution will fund the conservation and protection of fisheries resources in the Philippines. The Philippines government is contributing $163 million.

The types of infrastructure being funded include communal irrigation systems, fish landings and fish sanctuaries. Some 84 percent of the development project will be dedicated to a network of roads connecting farmers to markets, and a projected 291 roads will be laid.