MAFAR launches 1st BARMM Food Security Summit

COTABATO CITY — The first Food Security Summit of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (MAFAR) of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) with a theme “Bangsamoro ay Paunlarin; Masaganang Ani, Mataas na Kita, Halal at Organikong Pagkain ay Siguraduhin” was launched at Alnor Convention Center, Cotabato City, from December 10-12 this year.

MAFAR Minister Mohammad S. Yaqub in his message highlighted how could stakeholders work together to adopt strategies and approaches to have an investment return and achieve the government desire to increase the GDP in the region in terms of agriculture and fisheries production. 

Yaqub said the challenge faced by farmers is the traditional way of farming. “Until now we haven’t reached the level of modern farming because they are dependent on their farm animals in farming.”

For the farmland, only 30% is irrigated, while 60% of the land cultivated by farmers are owned by landlords said Yaqub.

Other challenges faced by farmers, Yaqub disclosed, are the lack of facilities, and technology know-how in modern faming.

“Our farmers have alternative source of income like vegetable gardening but they don’t have the capacity and facilities to preserve their products and has no marketing strategy,” he said. 

The MAFAR Minister said that they will plan to establish food storage.

“We need to talk to different sectors so that we may be able to resolve those challenges,” Yaqub said.

The MAFAR proposed 986million budget for 2020 for their ministry.  “This budget is a little bit smaller compared to other ministries”, however, Yaqub assured that they will utilize this fu effectively and efficiently. 

“Any way, he said the Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim has contingency funds under his office, and if the MAFAR budget is not enough, the Chief Minister can make use of his contingency fund to help the ministry,” Yaqub stressed.

Talking about the priority of his ministry, “We identified priority commodities in the BARMM’s five provinces. After our assessment, we were able to determine that they have different needs, like in Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur their main livelihood is rice and corn farming.

In the island provinces, fishing industry development, seaweeds and cassava farming are their priority commodities.

“MAFAR focused on priority commodity that can helps our farmers especially high value crops farming. We organized them into cooperative so that they can serve not only individually, but the cooperative in general.

In the exhibit, various local products from BARMM’s provinces were highlighted. The summit has invited investors outside the region so that they will see BARMMs local products that are very potential to develop and market them in the international community.

The first day of summit was the signing of memorandum of agreement between the MAFAR Minister Yacob and Ministry for Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE) Minister Mohagher Iqbal for the program on “Gulayan sa Paaralan” aims to support the planting of vegetables in schools so that it can supplement the needs of malnourished school learners.

Meantime, the signing of partnership covenant between and among the local government units such as Provincial Governors, Mayors League Presidents, interim Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim, Ministry on Interior and Local Government (MILG) Minister Atty. Naguib Sinarimbo, MAFAR Minister, Private Stakeholders and practitioners was set on Wednesday.