The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $2-million grant to support studies on farm clusters and to evaluate the impact of the Rice Tariffication Law.

The Agriculture department will be implementing the project, known as the Philippine Competitive and Inclusive Agriculture Development Program (CIADP2).

The project hopes to “reduce income inequality by expanding economic opportunities in the farm-fishery sector amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to a statement issued by the department Thursday.

The scope of the CIADP2 includes farm consolidation and clustering studies, as well as an impact assessment of the tariffication law and one of its key features, the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).

Around $1.493 million will find a pilot of clustered rice farms to serve as showcases for the farm and fishery consolidation and clustering (F2C2) program. Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao will each receive two model farms.

“The aim of the farm clustering is to replicate the lessons learned from relevant projects or other undertakings in the Philippines, highlighting the importance of the participation of LGUs and private sector as partners,” Secretary William D. Dar said.

At least $250,000 will fund a medium-term evaluation of the tariffication law and its impact on the rice market and stakeholders. This also includes an assessment of the RCEF.

The remainder of the funds of the grant will support studies on coconut and sugar; to set up a centralized database for agricultural commodities; and to assist government agencies in achieving gender targets.

The technical assistance package will also be funded in part by the Japanese government through its Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson