Bicol provinces yield tangible results of VCA process mainstreaming -- PRDP

PILI, Camarines Sur, Nov. 1 (PNA) -- Over the past months since its implementation, the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) has been hiring consultants to fast track the Value Chain Analysis (VCA) preparation of target provinces’ priority commodities.

But recently, the Project Support Office South Luzon Investment in Agri-Fishery Modernization Plan team shifted to a better strategy—capacitating and engaging the Provincial Project Management and Implementation Units (PPMIUs) in VCA preparation of each prospective beneficiary.

Using the learning by doing approach, the I-PLAN team headed by planning specialist Rey Lara of the program’s Project Support Office (PSO) devised a three-module training plan to develop the PPMIUs and Regional Project Coordination Office’s (RPCO) skills in VCA preparation.

Later, the team facilitated VCA preparation workshops with the goal of enabling them to prepare and submit outputs that would merit No Objection Letter (NOL).

For Bicol, the modular VCA training produced eight VCA reports of the region’s second priority commodities, two of which were already endorsed by the Provincial Development Council and are awaiting NOL, Lara on Friday said at the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) regional office here.

These include VCAs for sweet potato of Albay, seaweeds of Sorsogon, cassava and whole nut of Camarines Sur, live goat and coconut shell charcoal of Masbate, mangrove crab of Catanduanes, and queen pineapple juice of Camarines Norte.

The same VCA reports were presented to the panel of evaluators composed of Dr. Elena De Los Santos, RPCO-Bicol deputy project director and ADA regional technical director for operations and extension; Mary Ann Cuya, planning specialist; Edgardo Dela Torre, PRDP project development associate and Lara.

“The PPMIUs were able to produce tangible outputs—quality VCA reports that are reflective of the needs of the industry,” Lara said.

He added that although there were some data gaps and refinements that needed to be made for the VCA to conform to the standard format, the PPMIUs were able to deliver comprehensive outputs based on consultations.

Grace Graciana Tagnipez of PPMIU-Masbate said the VCA preparation was enriching and has broadened her knowledge necessary in Provincial Commodity Investment Plan (PCIP) preparation.

The PCIP is a three-year rolling consensus plan between the DA and the provincial government that contains specific infrastructure and enterprise sub-projects and other interventions to boost the identified provincial commodity based on the VCA conducted with stakeholders.

“I have learned that the VCA is the story of the commodity while the PCIP tells the future of the commodity. Hopefully, the Province of Masbate will be able to submit and implement sub-project proposals, particularly for live goat and coconut shell charcoal,” she added.

Lara said that the VCA preparation contributes to the PRDP objectives of institutionalizing the process to its local government partners.

He also recommends the mobilization of the PPMIUs in data-gathering and providing data support to the RPCO in preparing regional VCAs.

According to De los Santos, RPCO-Bicol is currently working on the regional VCA for virgin coconut oil while the regional VCA preparations for cassava, seaweeds and sweet potato are being planned for next year.

Lara also lauded the RPCO’s initiatives of mentoring and coaching the PPMIUs as well as their constant follow-through to fast track the region’s VCA preparation.

“We look forward that what we are doing will produce PRDP-approved sub-projects for each of the six Bicol provinces,” he stated.

The VCA is one of the implementing tools being used in PRDP implementation wherein only sub-projects anchored to the project areas’ VCAs with NOL are qualified for approval.

It focuses on value-creation and rational distribution of benefits among the actors in the chain.

The VCA is also used to justify basis of PRDP interventions, promote collaboration, and generate commitment to support the industry.

The PRDP is a six-year project being implemented by the DA that aims to raise annual real farm incomes of household beneficiaries by five percent; increase the value of annual marketed output by seven percent; and increase the number of farmers and fishers with improved access to DA’s services by 20 percent through an inclusive, market-oriented, and climate-resilient agri-fishery sector nationwide.

The P2.5- billion project is funded from the World Bank loan of Php20.5 billion, Global Environment Facility grant of Php287 million, national government equity of Php3.6 billion and local government units equity of Php3.1 billion.

According to DA Regional Executive Director Abelardo Bragas, the lion's share of the PRDP funding for this year worth Php638.4 million has been awarded to Bicol.

Included in these projects are the Php131.28-million concreting of Manangle-Caima farm-to-market road (FMR) in the municipality of Sipocot; Php50.67-million upgrading of Cuco-Bagong Silang FMR in Pasacao town; and the Php44.80-million rehabilitation of San Isidro to Pag-oring Nuevo Road in Libmanan -- all in the province of Camarines Sur.

These FMRs, according to Bragas, are intended to complement the Coconut Sap Sugar Processing as well as the Coco Water Processing Technology Pilot-Testing and Business Incubation Project that are both upcoming ventures introduced by Camarines Sur into the PDRP.

These projects have been allotted shares from the Php361.84-million allocation for the same sub-projects in the current portfolio which includes market assistance, capability-building, technology development, and production and post-harvest support, among others, he said.

The CSSP and coco water processing projects are to be implemented through a partnership among the DA-PRDP, Philippine Center for Postharvest Mechanization and Development, provincial government of Camarines Sur and the Pili town-based Central Bicol State University of Agriculture.(PNA) CTB/FGS/DOC/CBD/PJN