Upland Rice-Based Farming Technology Transfer Program for the Bangsamoro launched in Camp Darapanan


Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao – To be implemented by five (5) agencies namely Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Philippine Rice Research Institute-Midsayap (PhilRice), Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA), and the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI), the project called “Upland Rice-Based Farming Technology Transfer Program for the Bangsamoro” was launched at the MILF Administrative Camp in Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao on Wednesday, May 4, 2016.

Sammy Al Mansoor, Chief of Staff of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)-Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) welcomed the delegates from the five agencies. “This camp is the nerve center of MILF, discussions are taking place here, leadership assembly attended by millions of Bangsamoro people was held here,” he said. 

“The first fight or encounter between our forces and the AFP where brother Al Hadj Murad Ebrahim was wounded also took place in this village of Darapanan,” he continued.

Dr Sailila Abdula, Branch Director of PhilRice-Midsayap said that other collaborating agencies to help the smooth implementation of the program are Department of Agriculture and Fishiries (DAF-ARMM), University of Southern Mindanao (USM), Mindanao State University (MSU), Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Institute (DA-ATI) and local government units (LGU’s).

The program is under the Comprehensive Capacity Development Project for the Bangsamoro (CCDP-B) with the objective to improve the living standards of the Bangsamoro people in the target sites through agriculture.

“The program will start this April 2016 until March 2018. There are seven (7) municipalities covered by the project such as Matanog, Buldon, Barira all in Maguindanao, Balabagan, Butig, Kapatagan, and Marogong, Lanao del Sur,” Abdula elaborated.

The project will capacitate farmers, ‘ulama’ (Islamic Scholars) and other religious leaders and Municipal Agricultural Officers. It swill also integrate the concept of religion or spirituality with agriculture.

JICA-Philippine Office Senior Representative Ms. Yuko Tanaka said “The project is very important because it is JICA’s priority of promoting peace and development in Mindanao.”

Naoyuki Ochiai, Head and Chief Leader of JICA Cotabato Project Office revealed that prior to this project, along with JICA Study Team and CCDP-B BTC Socio-Economic Office went to visit two MILF Camps, Bushra in Lanao del Sur and Abu Bakar in Maguindanao for site visits. And they saw that the areas have potentials for farming and fishing activities. 

Ochiai said that last February there was another exposure of 12 MILF farmers in municipality of Matungao, Lanao Del Norte to have actual field study visit in the demo-farms and fishpond in CD-CAAM project in the area. 

He said that their exposure is not the end for the farmers but just a beginning for them,” Ochiai told the participants as he promised that this new project is the realization of activities for the Bangsamoro farmers.

On the other hand, Engr. Mohajirin T. Ali of the BTC-SEO clarified that this project is not part of the normalization process, and it is just a continuation of CCDP-B, a parallel efforts with all other programs aiming for peace and development in Mindanao.

Part of the project launching is the 1st Technical Working Group meeting presided by Engr. Ali. Significant agenda on how to ways forward was discussed that include Planned activities and schedule of implementation for 2016, Roles of each involved agency in the project implementation and other related matter.