THE World Bank (WB) has given approved the construction of a P257.8-million farm-to-market road in Passi City, Iloilo, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said Wednesday.

The Washington-based multilateral lending agency has issued the No Objection Letter 2 (NOL 2) for the rehabilitation of the 28-kilometer Imbang Grande-Tagubong-Gemumua-Agahon-Agtabo Farm-to-Market Road (FMR). The project is under the DA's Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP) in Visayas.

NOL 2 is issued to sub-projects that are approved for implementation. Prior to this, an initial NOL that secures the funding of a particular sub-project is issued. Infrastructure projects amounting to above US$5 million (approx P225.8 million) are subject to WB review.

The rehabilitation of the FMR is a counterpart initiative between the DA-PRDP and the local government unit (LGU), of which PRDP will finance 90 percent of the total project cost while the LGU will provide the remaining 10 percent funding.

In a letter addressed to PRDP Project Director and DA Undersecretary Emerson Palad, WB Task Team Leader for PRDP Carolina Geron has requested the DA to ensure the tight monitoring of the project implementation.

“Ensure that all construction and quality control equipment must be geotagged and key personnel must be mobilized within one month from the issuance of Notice to Proceed,” Geron said.

She also said that the contractor must submit to the Iloilo Provincial Local Government the geotagged photos of the sub-project showing progress prior to the construction and the subsequent months until project completion.

Palad said that geotagging, which is one of the project monitoring tools highlighted by the PRDP, has played a vital role from the project proposals to actual implementation.

“We can be assured the project is really being implemented and that contractor and the LGU are following the quality standards we have set under the PRDP,” he said.

“The Infrastructure Development (I-BUILD) component of the PRDP aims to develop a strategic network of climate-resilient rural infrastructures and facilities that will support the commodity value chain in project areas,” added Palad.

The FMR will support mainly the production and marketing of swine, rice, sugarcane and corn of farmers in 51 barangays as a result of the road rehabilitation, but Palad added that the entire agriculture industry in the area can benefit in the project, as well as the 4,000 dwellers around the road area.

At present, 124 sub-projects worth P5.9 billion under the I-BUILD component have been approved for PRDP funding.

The PRDP is a six-year national project that aims to establish a modern, inclusive, value-chain oriented, and climate resilient agriculture and fisheries sector. It is implemented through the partnership of the DA, World Bank and LGUs. (SDR/Sunnex)