Program for Mindanao shifts to agriculture


COTABATO CITY, Maguindanao: The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recently convened members of the donor community to mobilize resources to fund the implementation of a six-year strategic framework for Mindanao’s agriculture sector.

FAO National Communications Expert Nikki Meru told The Manila Times that the Mindanao Strategic Programme for Agriculture and Agribusiness (MSPAA), envisioned to reduce poverty, improve food and nutrition security, resiliency to natural disasters and climate change, will serves as blueprint of the priorities for technical cooperation in the region.

Meru said all projects under the MSPAA are designed to increase production and promote appropriate technologies, including new crop varieties, better livestock breeds and fishery or aquaculture species.

“These will integrate climate-smart technologies that can respond effectively to climate change impacts and natural disasters,” she further said.

José Luis Fernández, FAO representative in the Philippines, pointed out that the agriculture sector in Mindanao has strong potential to drive inclusive growth and sustained peace.

“With adequate funding support, FAO aims to link the lagging areas of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with more progressive areas through investments in connective infrastructure, human and social capital, while increasing resilience to the impacts of climate change,” he stressed.

Fernandez added that the MSPAA has been carefully aligned with the government’s priorities identified in the Mindanao Strategic Development Framework 2010-2020, the Mindanao 2020 Peace and Development Framework, the Bangsamoro Development Plan and the Updated Philippine Development Plan.

He added, recognizing the disparities in growth between conflict-affected municipalities in ARMM and the more progressive areas in other regions of Mindanao, the MSPAA, will adopt a different approach that will address the distinct needs of the two focus areas and maximize their unique capacities for inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

The FAO also noted that conflict-affected areas, specifically in the ARMM, have historically registered about 15 percent higher poverty rates than areas in Mindanao’s growth centers.



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