Improvement of FMR uplifts living conditions in rural Nueva Ecija
“It was really hard for us to transport products to and from the market. It took us days before we could deliver products because of lack of tricycles that pass by here. Our products get spoiled before they even reach the market and we could not sell them anymore,” recalled Virginia Baleroso as she described the previous situation of the road she passes by every day.
Baleroso is just one of the thousands of residents who used to traverse a rugged access road along barangays San Juan, Villa Joson and Porais in San Jose City, Nueva Ecija.
With the intervention of the Department of Agriculture’s Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP), the improvement of a 5.17 kilometer farm-to-market road traversing the said barangays was completed and now being benefited by 1,432 households and 6,736 residents.
“Now that this road is cemented, there are a lot of tricycles we can rent going to the market,” said Baleroso.
Data gathered from the Rapid Appraisal of Emerging Benefits (RAEB) revealed that travel time using the road reduced by 36.41%, while the number of public transportation increased by 31%.
Roldan Batungbakal, a resident from Barangay San Juan said that they now save a lot on gasoline consumption.
“We now deliver vegetables with better quality and the road is not muddy anymore,” he said.
With the old unrehabilitated road, farmers used to deliver their produce to buyers or traders, causing about one kilo worth of damaged products. Now, traders and rice millers personally pick up farmers’ produce directly from the farm.
Health issues were also addressed by the road rehabilitation, according to some residents.
“During dry season, it was very polluted and dusty here especially when large trucks pass by and it affects the health of the residents here,” recalled Batungbakal. “Now, even if vehicles continuously pass by, dust and wind is not a problem anymore.”
In terms of employment, the improvement of the farm-to-market road resulted to a seven percent increase in additional employment, while the average net income of farmers increased by 17%.
The completed FMR will support the SIKKAP San Jose Ampalaya Enterprise, another PRDP-funded subproject that aims to help farmers receive reasonable price for their products and stop middlemen from gaining more benefits than farmers themselves.
RAEB is a PRDP-initiative that determines the extent of success and benefits from completed subprojects that contribute to the achievement of the of project’s development objectives. It is jointly conducted by the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Unit, Social and Environmental Safeguards (SES) Unit, Geomapping and Governance Unit (GGU), I-BUILD/I-REAP Component, Economists and the Information, Advocacy, Communication and Education (InfoACE) Unit. (Kayla Arceo, InfoACE North Luzon)