PH obtains an ADB loan of $ 400 million for poverty reduction in the agricultural sector

Manila-based Asian Development Bank (AfDB) has granted the Philippines a loan of $ 400 million for programs and projects that will lift more agricultural workers out of poverty by improving competitiveness and productivity of the sector.

The Political Loan for the Competitive and Inclusive Agriculture Development Program (Subprogramme 1) aimed to assist the Philippine government in expanding “economic opportunities in the agricultural sector by implementing trade and agricultural policy reforms. regulation, improving public services and sector financing and extending protection to rural families, ”the AfDB said in a statement Wednesday.

“The Philippines has made huge strides in reducing the national poverty rate, but rural poverty remains high due to low productivity and limited crop diversification.

This loan will support the government’s comprehensive suite of policy and regulatory reforms, addressing institutional weaknesses in land and water management, expanding agricultural finance to boost productivity, and extending the social safety net to unserved rural families and underserved, ”said Ahmed M. Saeed, AfDB Vice President. noted.

The AfDB said the loan supports the Rice Pricing Law, which liberalized rice trade and reduced prices while providing an annual fund from collecting rice import duties to modernize the agricultural sector. .

“The government is also launching additional land and water resource reforms… Other reforms supported by the loan include additional support for farmers transitioning to higher value crops and those affected by the COVID pandemic- 19. These include unconditional cash grants and the Expanded Rice Survival and Recovery Assistance Program to provide zero-interest loans to over 160,000 smallholder farmers. The program is also expanding government preschool feeding programs to families to reduce malnutrition and stunting.

He said the loan would be complemented by future investments to improve flood risk management in major river basins, improve irrigation efficiency and promote agribusiness development.

The AfDB noted that while the agriculture sector accounted for around 25 percent of total employment in the Philippines, it “lags behind its Southeast Asian counterparts in terms of productivity growth and competitiveness. “.

“Poverty rates in rural areas of the Philippines remain high, as do child malnutrition and stunted growth. The government has identified agriculture as a priority area for reform as part of its economic recovery program in the event of the COVID-19 pandemic, as it seeks to ensure food security and reduce poverty in the country, ”said he declared.

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