BALANGA CITY, Bataan – Representatives from the World Bank visited two Department of Agriculture’s Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) subprojects in the Municipalities of Bagac and Mariveles yesterday as part of its 6th Implementation Support Mission.
PDRP is a project designed to establish the government platform for a modern, climate-smart, and market-oriented agrifishery sector.
Farm to Market Road
Aimed at helping sweet potato farmers, the Department of Agriculture and the Provincial Government of Bataan visualize that a farm to market road (FMR) will help increase the production of commodities hauled in the farms here which were being transported by tractors, trucks, and animal-driven carts.
“It will help our crops reach the market in a timely fashion so that the farmers can manage their crops well and thereby increase their income,” said Governor Albert S. Garcia.
This project with a total cost of P157,521,347.90 will traverse three barangays in Bagac namely San Antonio, Parang, and Saysayin, starting from Gov. J.J. Linao road and end up to Mariveles-Bagac road.
This will benefit 2,043 households by the reduction of travel time of commuters by 50%; reduction of input cost of goods by 25% from market to farm and output hauling cost of produce by 25% from farm to designated market; expansion of existing sweet potato production area by up to 315 hectares; provision of direct and indirect employment opportunities to the skilled and unskilled workers within the area; increase of traffic count in the area; and the commencement of development potential other than sweet potato production.
As of April 16, this road project has a 35.61% physical progress.
Ice Plant with Cold Storage
Focusing on block ice production and cold storage services, the first ever ice plant with cold storage in Bataan located at Brgy. Batangas II, Mariveles is expected to offer accessible and adequate supply of block ice at a lower price where 60% of its production will be sold to fisherfolks, while 40% is for the block ice retailers.
This facility under Kaizen Multipurpose Cooperative (KMC) particularly targets fisherfolk members of Batangas II Small Fisherfolks Association (BASFA), Batangas II Fishermen Association (BAFA), DUGSO Cooperative, and block ice retailers, who can avail block ice for P200-P220.
The commodity supported by the cold storage is sardines which is said to be abundant in the seas of this town. Moreover, the ice plant will operate 29 days in a month, giving way for at least one day maintenance monthly.
KMC Manager Evelyn Dimaandal said in her presentation in front of fisherfolks, food processors, and visitors, that these ice blocks are not yet ready for human consumption even though their water is proven safe in the monitoring held earlier. She also announced that workers will undergo trainings in June to assure their ‘continuous improvement’.
“Now it is up to the cooperative to run the business but the project will be there to help and see along and see hopefully that local government, with the Municipal Agriculture Offices, Provincial Agriculture Office, or BFAR helping them further,” World Bank Task Team Leader Frauke Jungbluth concluded.