Year 2018 marks milestone for the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) and the United Nations- Food and Agriculture Organization (UN-FAO) as the two embarked on partnership for a common goal of developing and piloting socio-economic model towards agro-economic Bangsamoro community.
BDA and UNFAO signed a Letter of Understanding (LOU) in January this year for this project which objective is to open opportunities and link farmers to market to ensure sustainability of their livelihood and establish value chain. There will be also various training for the beneficiaries such as farm preparation through modern methods, Values Enhancement Training (VET), book keeping and recording, project planning and among others.
The project is being piloted at two sites which are Brgy. Buliok in Sultan Mastura, Maguindanao and in Brgy. Cabpangi, Pigcawayan, North Cotabato.
According to Rhadzni Taalim, BDA head for program operations, the program is market or demand driven and the intervention is to provide assistance for the farmer-beneficiaries to have direct access to market for selling their products.
In Brgy. Buliok, the agri crops are vegetables such as ampalaya, eggplant, tomato, etc. while in Brgy. Cabpangi is rice.
“These two sites are identified based on the criteria set by the project that includes existence of active and functioning People’s Organization (PO) and the degree of conflict in the community”, Taalim stated.
UNFAO is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger . Among its priorities based on the Mindanao Strategic Programme for Agriculture/Agribusiness (MSPAA) is on modernizing the agriculture in Mindanao in belief that agribusiness is the key driver to better incomes and development for the Mindanaons.
BDA is a development agency established in 2002 out of the peace process between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and is tasked as development manager of the Bangsamoro. It has already the experience in terms of projects related to agriculture, livelihood and local economic development which concept is very similar to the what this current project of the agency and the UNFAO is implementing.