The Department of Agriculture said the approval by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) of a $400-million loan will help in reducing poverty in rural areas as it will raise productivity and competitiveness of the agriculture sector.
“The ADB assistance will go a long way in boosting the capability of the country’s agriculture sector to ensure food security, while alleviating poverty in the countryside amid the COVID-19 (new coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic,” said William Dar, DA secretary.
Dar said the loan will strengthen the implementation of assistance to rice farmers, promote crop diversification and climate-resistant agriculture initiatives as well as improve the nutrition of rural children through school feeding programs.
The loan will support the government’s agenda to institute comprehensive policy and regulatory reforms, resolve institutional weaknesses in land and water management, expand agricultural financing to boost productivity and extend social safety net to unserved and underserved rural families.
It is also expected to provide additional assistance to farmers to transition towards higher value crops; provision of unconditional cash grants and the Expanded Survival and Recovery Assistance Program for Rice Farmers to provide zero-interest loans to more than 160,000 small farmers.
The loan will be complemented by upcoming investments to enhance flood risk management in major river basins, improve irrigation efficiency and promote agro-enterprise development.