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PIA Press Release

Rural program to create 1M jobs

By Mai Gevera

Davao City (4 February) -- The P6 billion worth of projects set to be implemented by the Mindanao Rural Development Program 2 (MRDP 2) could generate at least 1 million jobs in the agriculture sector.

This was bared by Agriculture undersecretary Jesus Emmanuel Paras as the MRDP phase 2 is going full blast starting this year.

"We hope to fast-track the rural infrastructure component to generate more employment as instructed by President Arroyo." Paras said in a press conference in Davao City.

While employees in other sectors may have started to feel the effects of the global financial crisis, the agriculture department is now shielding farmers and fisherfolks by immediately offering job opportunities.

Paras estimated at least 10 jobs created per P1 million worth of investment poured in a community.

He also explained that farmers need more infrastructure programs so it would be easy for them to increase their output.

This was supported by the priority shift of the DA from soft projects like fertilizer support to hard projects such as irrigation maintenance, postharvest facilities, farm to market roads, and rural extension work.

The said priority was also in line with the directions now made under the MRDP which now requires LGUs to implement at least one rural infrastructure subproject.

MRDP is strict in requiring LGUs such condition and that no livelihood project will be implemented without having one proposal for rural infrastructure.

DA then approved the joint implementation of Rural Infrastructure (RI) and Community Fund for Agricultural Development (CFAD) components of the MRDP.

Rural Infrastructure constitutes about 60 percent of the total project cost of the said program.

The said provision is believed to encourage LGUs to think and invest on infrastructure as this could help improve the agriculture sector in the locality.

Officials claim that infrastructure may be an expensive investment, however, without it food production will have no foundation to grow. (PIA XI) [top]

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