ADB to help poor southern Philippine farmers

November 4th, 2008 - 3:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Manila, Nov 4 (DPA) The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said Tuesday it has approved a $70-million loan for a new project to improve the lives and incomes of poor farmers in the conflict-wracked southern Philippines.The Manila-based bank said the Agrarian Reform Communities Project II will allocate $135.2 million for rural infrastructure projects and $25.2 million for agriculture and enterprise development.

The OPEC Fund for International Development, which is administered by the ADB, will provide additional $30 million funding for the project, while the balance will be shouldered by the Philippine government and local government units.

“The project will train farmers to support community-driven development for infrastructure projects and enhance agribusiness activities to support poor beneficiaries of the government’s comprehensive agrarian reform programme,” the ADB said.

The agrarian reform programme redistributes land to landless farmers and helps them become market-oriented producers.

“The project will substantially expand the rural production base by assisting the poor to break out of subsistence farming, to diversify their livelihood activities, to raise production and distribution efficiencies to improve their market position and to provide employment opportunities for landless households,” said Manoshi Mitra, a senior social development specialist at the ADB.

The ADB said the programme also aims to build stronger, more representative, farmer organizations with vulnerable groups, particularly women, involved in the consultation process for new development initiatives.

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