FAO allots $5.8 M for agri in Mindanao
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - March 3, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Korean government have allocated $5.8 million to improve the agriculture sector in Mindanao to ensure sustainable peace and development in the region.

The money will be used to improve agriculture and fisheries-based livelihoods, and accelerate agriculture-based enterprises in Mindanao.

To be implemented this year until 2021 in the provinces of North Cotabato and Maguindanao, the project aims to increase the income of farming and fishing households, primarily by enhancing agribusiness value chains of key commodities.

The project is currently the single largest contribution to FAO’s work in Mindanao. It will help establish a halal training and business center in Cotabato City and corn silage processing plant in North Cotabato.

FAO will provide post-harvest facilities for rice and corn, and production and processing support for high value crops and fisheries.

The project will support about 10,740 poor farming and fishing households in five municipalities in Maguindanao, five municipalities in North Cotabato, and Cotabato City.

It will involve training and capacity building support to improve productivity, link to new market opportunities and enhance disaster risk reduction and management, as well as provide agricultural inputs, livestock and poultry, fisheries inputs, farm machineries and equipment.

“The development of Mindanao is a priority agenda of the Duterte administration and the Korean government is supportive of peace and development in Mindanao. It is meaningful that this project will cover not only Bangsamoro areas but also other areas in Mindanao,” KOICA country director Shin Myung Seop said.

FAO Representative in the Philippines Jose Luis Fernandez said Mindanao, especially its agriculture sector, has a huge potential to further spur economic growth in the country.

“The region is widely known for its rich and diverse resources. However, its growth has been hampered by decades of conflict and, more recently, increasing severity and frequency of natural disasters,” he said.

“Our partnership with KOICA will enable us to continue and  further expand our initiatives by not only enhancing productivity but also linking the farmers to the supply chain of agribusiness firms in major regional centers, thereby also increasing their access to capital, technology, and consumers,” Fernandez added.

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