To sustain the gains of the Mindanao peace process, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) will host a Peace Partners’ Caucus in Davao City next month, MinDA Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said Thursday.
The gathering aims to give opportunities for private individuals, companies, and corporate executives to contribute to sustaining peace and development efforts in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Piñol said the caucus would be a venue to present possible areas of involvement by the private sector to sustain the peace gains made by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“I thought of holding the Peace Partners’ Caucus two days after President Duterte publicly instructed me to fast-track the development of the Bangsamoro region, especially in the field of agriculture,” he said in a statement.
Piñol noted that the President was right when he emphasized the need to develop the BARMM’s agriculture and fisheries sector because of the region’s vast resources.
“You focus on BARMM agriculture,” Piñol quoted Duterte as telling him in the presence of BARMM Chief Minister Ahod “Murad” Ebrahim last December 23.
The President was at the BARMM compound here Monday where he distributed certificates of land ownership to 912 farmer-beneficiaries.
Piñol said the Peace Partners’ Caucus would just be a simple matching of BARMM farmers and fisherfolk to potential supporters and buyers from the private sector.
For starters, he said, feed mill companies would be asked what raw materials they need in feed formulation that could be sourced from the BARMM and the volume required.
As previously announced, MinDA will launch the Sorghum Development Program in Mindanao to produce grains for food and animal feeds.
Piñol said a Thai agricultural firm based in the Philippines, CP Foods Philippines, has pledged to purchase sorghum from Mindanao, especially the BARMM.
Farmers from the BARMM could also produce corn, cassava, copra meal, fish meal, and carrageenan as added feed components.
Supermarket chains could also provide BARMM vegetable farmers, especially those from Lanao del Sur who have been trained by groups like “Go Negosyo”, with access to the market.
With BARMM officials led by Ebrahim and regional agriculture and fisheries minister Mohammad Yacob supporting the Halal Meat and Poultry Production Program in the region, MinDA will also link up cattle, goat, and poultry farmers to potential buyers.
Piñol said MinDA would also link BARMM fishermen’s groups to buyers of their produce.
With the production-marketing agreements forged, MinDA will tap government financing institutions, such as the Development Bank of the Philippines and Land Bank of the Philippines, to fund the programs. (PNA)