Bangsamoro area gets $1.8 M funding for agri
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - March 10, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Japanese government have allocated $1.8 million to improve the agriculture sector in Mindanao to ensure sustainable peace and development in the region.

Japan has partnered with FAO for a $1.76 million (P92 million) initiative that aims to enhance the agricultural vocational skills of farmers and fisherfolks in the Bangsamoro areas and other post-conflict areas in Mindanao.

The partnership is one of the four projects that Japan will be supporting as contribution to the promotion of peace and development in Mindanao.

The project will assist 2,000 farmers and fisherfolks from the provinces of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Zamboanga Sibugay.

“Mindanao, particularly its agriculture sector, is a major contributor to the Philippine economy given its vast natural resources. However, despite its huge potential, Mindanao’s agriculture sector continues to face high underemployment rates and low wages,” FAO representative in the Philippines Jose Luis Fernandez said.

Mindanao’s farmers and fisherfolks remain to be among the country’s poorest, with limited access to knowledge.

FAO said the recent passage and ratification of the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is ushering initiatives to support further development of the region including strengthening human capital through capacity building and skills trainings.

The vocational skills training programs, to be implemented in partnership with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and other relevant government agencies, will be designed based on the needs of the farmers and fisherfolks, as well as gaps or skills required by the sector.

The project will use modules developed by FAO, TESDA, Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Training Institute, Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization, and the Philippine Rice Research Institute.

The training programs will include lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on activities on crop production, integrated pest management, harvest and post-harvest processing, livestock and poultry production, animal health management, aquaculture and fisheries production, and food processing, among others.

Beneficiaries who will complete their training program will be provided with starter kits and help them start their own enterprise and livelihoods.

Small farm machinery kits will be provided to community-based organizations with members who have completed training on small farm machinery operation and maintenance.

The project will contribute to the Peace and Development Roadmap of the Duterte administration, and the goals and objectives stated in the Peace and Development Framework Plan of the Mindanao Development Authority.

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