IFAD in the Philippines

Since 1978, IFAD has committed a total of US$168.8 million in financing 13 projects related to agricultural development in the Philippines. From its first project, which financed year-round irrigation to improve productivity in the Cagayan Valley of Northern Luzon, to the most recent, which supports a nationwide effort to regain self-sufficiency in rice production, IFAD has had a role in efforts to reduce poverty in the Philippines. The goals are to enable poor rural people to improve their incomes and food security, and provide better food, education and health care for their families.

Working with the government to achieve the goals of the Medium-Term Development Plan 2004-2010, IFAD supports microfinance, with the aim of tripling loans to self-employed people, to microenterprises and to entrepreneurial poor people in remote areas.

IFAD's current strategy in the Philippines has evolved from the government's own strategic initiative – contained in its social reform agenda – from IFAD's own strategic framework and key strategies for Asia and the Pacific region, and from lessons learned from past operations in the country. Past experiences have sharpened the focus of IFAD's activities to concentrate on the least-favoured marginal upland and coastal areas, home to many of the country's poorest people. Target groups include the poorest groups of rural people, notably women and indigenous peoples living in highly fragile and vulnerable ecosystems, as well as people who benefited from agrarian reform in the uplands, coastal fishers and landless people.

IFAD works with the government and other partners to help reduce poverty in some of the poorest areas in the country. Its programmes and projects are built on strong country ownership and are the result of a long participatory process in which a wide range of stakeholders are consulted. IFAD loans support:

  • decentralization, by strengthening the capacities of local institutions
  • improved access to markets, technology and rural financial services
  • private sector involvement in operations
  • improved management of natural resources and the environment
  • improved access for poor households to land and water resources and their sustainable use

Poor people's access to the financial services that they need to improve their incomes is a crucial factor in breaking the poverty cycle. In the Philippines, IFAD supports institutions that adopt the Grameen banking approach, providing microcredit in the form of small, even tiny, loans to borrowers who have little or no collateral.

Programmes and projects financed by IFAD promote innovative approaches to address some of the issues that perpetuate rural poverty. Key innovative features of IFAD-supported operations in the Philippines focus on securing access to land in ancestral domains for indigenous peoples and documenting customary laws and traditional practices, on putting in place land-use planning, and on supporting coastal communities to introduce coastal resource management and environmental protection features.

IFAD's strategic objectives for 2010-2014

With the 2010-2014 Philippines Country Strategic Opportunities Programme (COSOP), IFAD will work to extend its mission to help the Philippine government and other stakeholders to reduce poverty and food and nutritional insecurity in rural areas. Working with development partners – in the context of a global emphasis on aid effectiveness and a better division of labour between development agencies – will be key to fully exploiting the programme's potential. IFAD's country strategy will also continue to support the government's medium-term rural poverty reduction goals, which are closely aligned to the Millennium Development Goals. With the overarching goal that poor rural women and men are empowered to achieve higher incomes and improved food security, the COSOP has three strategic objectives:

  • Upland poor households have improved access to, and control over, the land and water resources in the uplands, especially households in indigenous peoples' communities and agrarian reform beneficiaries in the country's poorest provinces. They will use these resources in environmentally sustainable activities and have access to essential socio-economic public infrastructure.  
  • The entrepreneurial poor in selected rural areas, particularly in the Visayas, Northern and Western Mindanao, Southern and Eastern Mindanao, and Central Mindanao, have improved access to markets and rural financial services. They are able to pursue, maintain and enhance farm-related, off-farm, non-farm and microenterprise activities. This improves the value chains of agribusiness systems for the benefit of rural poor farmers.
  • Selected and marginalized poor communities that are dependent on coastal resources in Bicol, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao and the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao have sustainable access to fisheries and other productive resources in coastal areas. They use sustainable coastal resource management practices and diversify livelihood opportunities to meet their basic needs, particularly food.

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Source: IFAD