COTABATO CITY: Members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) will launch on Thursday a self-sustained 500-hectare Cavendish banana farm in the MNLF’s main enclave in Datu Odin Sinsuat town in Maguindanao.
The project is meant to generate liveli
hood needed to sustain the schooling of children of former Moro rebels that comprise the MNLF-led Barangay Bago Inged Multi-Purpose Cooperative.
Datumama Guiaman, chairman of the MNLF cooperative, said while they do not have foreign capitalists for their banana venture, there are traders abroad ready to buy their harvests.
The chairman of the MNLF’s largest and most politically active faction, former Cotabato City Mayor Muslimin Sema, will lead the symbolic launching of the banana farm project in Barangay Bago Inged in northwest of Datu Odin Sinsuat.
Sema said unlike most of the foreign-assisted Cavendish banana plantations that mushroomed in Maguindanao in the past two years, the MNLF’s cooperative farm is a self-sustained project, to be funded out of earnings by local farmers.
Barangay Bago Inged is host to the MNLF’s largest enclave in Maguindanao, the Camp Ebrahim, now a government-recognized “peace zone,” where former Moro rebels thrive as farmers.
Sema said the cooperative aims to develop into a Cavendish banana plantation at least 500 hectares of idle lands in the surroundings of Camp Ebrahim.
Guiaman said their cooperative banana project shall also serve as a model farm for MNLF members in other Maguindanao towns.
The MNLF signed a peace pact with government on September 2, 1996, paving the way for the integration of more than 6,000 guerillas into the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police.
Most of the MNLF members that failed to qualify for integration into the military and the police are now peacefully tilling agricultural lands in their enclaves. PNA