DELIVERY of agricultural services will be given a boost as the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) will pour in US$6 million to improve governance in agriculture sector.

This after the World Bank (WB), as requested by the Department of Agriculture-Mindanao Rural Development Program (DA-MRDP), arranged for additional grant from the AusAID for governance reform.

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MRDP is a poverty alleviation initiative implemented under DA and jointly funded by the WB, national government and the local government units (LGUs). The program implements rural infrastructure and livelihood projects, natural resource management as well as governance reforms interventions.

Institutional governance reform (IGR) is one of the components of the second phase of MRDP. However, in line with the Philippines government policy, close to two-thirds of WB loan for MRDP2 was earmarked for rural infrastructure component.

"We are glad that the AusAID through WB has given us an additional grant that will support and raise the quality and volume of complimentary IGR-activities to a level proportionate to the increasing livelihood and infrastructure projects," said MRDP director Lealyn Ramos.

Ramos said IGR is equally important component as this will lead to better governance which is the key to a stronger investment climate in the rural areas.

"It will also improve revenue and accountability mechanisms that will enable the LGUs to prioritize delivery of agricultural projects and spur development in the countryside," she added.

WB consultant Cesar Umali said, the AusAID grant will bring long-term benefits through enhanced and improved planning, supervision and operation and maintenance of infrastructure projects.

"Capability building activities under the grant will introduce new way of doing business to make livelihood and natural resource management projects sustainable," Umali said.

He added that the objective of the grant will enable both the DA and the LGUs to effectively deliver all devolved agricultural and fisheries services in a manner and quality satisfactory to target client farmers and fishers leading to increase in production, income and food security. (Noel T. Provido/DA-MRDP)