A 12-MEMBER delegation from India and Mongolia visited recently sub-projects of the Department of Agriculture Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP) in Davao Region for a learning exchange visit in the country.

Together with the World Bank representatives, the delegation visited a farm-to-market road in Panabo City, Davao del Norte and the Cacao Production and Marketing of Dry Fermented Beans in Davao City.

World Bank Rural Development Specialist Carolina Figueroa-Geron said that these countries, who are also implementing World Bank supported projects in their respective countries, have been requesting the World Bank to visit the sites of PRDP to learn how things are done within the project especially with the use of geotagging technology.

Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist for Livestock and Agricultural Marketing Project (Lamp) in Mongolia Bolor-Erdene Battsengel said that the Philippines and Mongolia have the same systems for their World Bank projects, but the difference is how these systems are being implemented locally.

"One thing that I wanted to bring to Mongolia is planning. Your plans are very detailed and you track implementation very well," Battsengel said.

Joint Secretary to the Government of West Bengal and Project Director of the Institutional Strengthening of Gram Panchayats Project (ISGPP) in India Soumya Purkait said that like the Philippines, India has also set up geographic information system (GIS) but added that it’s more advanced in the Philippines.

"I'm impressed with the activities of the PRDP because measures on accountability and transparency are put in place in implementing any activity within the time frame," he said.

Davao del Norte Project Management and Implementing Unit presented the planning process for their PRDP sub-projects using the tools such as geotagging, which is utilized in validating, reviewing and monitoring sub-projects proposed and implemented under the PRDP.

Davao del Norte Governor Rodolfo del Rosario thanked the World Bank and the PRDP and said that infrastructure projects are vital in laying foundations for economic growth.

“The PRDP’s precursor Mindanao Rural Development Program has helped the province realize a dramatic turnaround through the provision of farm-to-market roads, postharvest facilities and more,” del Rosario said.

The group also interviewed provincial and barangay officials on how they handle and monitor sub-projects implemented in the area.

“The visit to the FMR project is a sort of an eye-opener for us. They document each and every step from the start of the project implementation. That was wonderful. We have learned a lot,” said Purkait.

The group also visited the cacao enterprise development sub-project in Calinan, Davao City where the cooperative demonstrated the post-processing of cacao fermented beans.

The P26-million enterprise received recently approval for funding under the PRDP.

“The project implementation has just begun but they have accomplished so much. This shows how dedicated the people in the Philippines are,” said Battsengel.

The ISGP Project in India intends to support high-performing gram panchayats (local self-government organization) to strengthen their institutional capacity and ability to delivery basic public services, while LAMP in Mongolia aims to improve rural livelihoods and food security in selected provinces and districts through investments in enhancing productivity, market access and diversification in livestock-based production systems. Both are World Bank-supported projects.