TACLOBAN CITY – The Department of Agriculture (DA) has started the construction of a P129 million farm-to-market road (FMR) that is expected to benefit at least 2,795 poor residents in three Samar towns.

NEW ROAD. Key officials in Samar province join the groundbreaking for the PHP129 million farm-to-market road that will link remote villages in three poor Samar towns. The road is expected to benefit at least 2,795 residents in the area. (Photo courtesy of the Department of Agriculture

The nine-kilometer Hinugacan-Villahermosa Road will traverse some remote farming communities in the towns of Gandara, Tarangnan and Pagsanghan.

These villages have a total agricultural area of 4,553 hectares suited for the production of rice, corn, vegetable, sweet potato, cassava, taro, banana, and coconut, the DA regional office said in a statement.

“We are really looking forward that through the help of this project, this could really change the lives of the farmers, not just the farmers but most especially the economic status of the communities. And we are really hoping for Samar to finally produce their own vegetables,” said DA Eastern Visayas regional executive director Angel Enriquez.

The road construction is part of the World Bank-funded Philippine Rural Development Projects (PRDP) designed to modernize and improve the resilience of the fisheries and agriculture sectors. The road project will be completed next year.

Of the P129-million budget for the project, P103.23 million is from loan proceeds, P12.9 million from the Philippine government, and P12.9 million from local government equity.
During the groundbreaking ceremony on Oct. 28, Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan said the start of the project is very memorable to the people of Samar since they have been pushing for the road construction as early as 2017.

“PRDP project is very tedious. We had to process a lot of documents. I know that there were glitches and some problems along the way while we were processing the documents especially that we experienced this pandemic which made it difficult for us to follow-up,” she said during the event.

The six-year nationwide rural development project is worth P27.5 billion funded through a World Bank loan worth P20.56 billion, and P7 billion in counterpart funds from the national and local government units. (PNA)