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Filipino Farmers Make a Concrete Improvement

By Millennium Challenge Corporation

When farmers in the Filipino village of Dahilig took their unmilled rice to market, their journey, under a scorching sun or through a shroud of humidity, was rough going. They struggled to navigate a narrow foot trail through a marshy grassland—a trail that could be washed away by the rain. Doing their best to keep their footing, farmers and farmhands carried the unmilled rice on their heads in sacks that weighed as much as 110 pounds. Making enough trips to get the whole of a harvest to market sometimes took 2 days.

“We always had a hard time transporting unmilled rice and equipment,” said Reynaldo Razonable, who is a resident of Dahilig, located in the Camarines Sur region of the country. 

But this narrow and slippery trail has since been replaced by a 400-yard pathway of broad and solid concrete. The pathway can accommodate padyaks, bicycles with a sidecar that can hold the heavy bags of rice. These days, getting a full harvest to the market is much different—faster, of course, and less strenuous.

“Now it just takes a couple of hours,” added Razonable. “The farmer takes his rice to the pathway, loads it on the padyak, and he’s back home in time for lunch. He has time to attend to other matters, and there is less risk of theft.”

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a Feed the Future partner agency, funded the pathway as part of an MCC-Philippines Compact community-driven development project. The project is one example of how MCC incorporates strong community relationships and works to empower people in its partner countries as part of its investments to achieve local goals like food security. 

It was the residents of Dahilig village who identified the pathway as a priority project for their community. The pathway has not only eased transport, but it has also reinforced a sense of economic security among the people of Dahilig. 

The power of the project’s model is that it is community-driven, community-focused and community-implemented. Local communities like Dahilig define their priorities, select and design projects, manage procurements, and work together to implement them with technical assistance provided through the project. 

“We never knew that we could work like this with the government,” Razonable’s wife, Visitacion Razonable, said. “We now realize all we had to do was ask.”

Learn more about the Millennium Challenge Corporation, or read more blogs in this series.

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