The Bruneian

Bangsamoro Region to Develop Agribusine­sses and Exporters under EU Program


The European Union (EU) is supporting a 5-year program that will boost agricultur­al production and improve the investment climate in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). The program will help agribusine­sses develop products for export to BIMP-EAGA markets, such as halal-certified food products.

The EU is providing 20 million euros (about 1.14 billion pesos) to the Bangsamoro Agri-Enterprise Programme (BAEP), which was launched this week together with the National Copernicus Capacity Support Action Programme for the Philippine­s (CopPhil), another EUbacked program.

Climate resilience and inclusive growth

EU Ambassador Luc Véron said both programs will “enhance climate change resilience in the Philippine­s while strengthen­ing key productive sectors including agricultur­e and ecosystem management.” The Philippine­s’ Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez said the BAEP will

support the government’s “heightened efforts to boost farm productivi­ty and achieve inclusive growth” in BARMM.

The region is one of the poorest in the country. BARMM was created in 2019 as part of a peace agreement to end nearly 5 decades of conflict between the government and secessioni­sts.

The EU said the BAEP is part of its broader efforts to support a peaceful, cohesive, secure and inclusivel­y developed Bangsamoro. For example, it is also co-financing the Mindanao Peace and Developmen­t Program (MINPAD)-RISE Mindanao program with the Government of Germany and the World Bank. Among its outputs is the strengthen­ed capacities of agricultur­al cooperativ­es. Agribusine­ss developmen­t The BAEP will improve the quality and diversity of local agricultur­al production to respond better to the needs of the market and will support the transition­al administra­tion to elaborate a strategy to develop and attract investment­s in

agribusine­ss. On the production side, it will work with local farmers and cooperativ­es to adopt more integrated farming systems using a value chain approach, thus improving their capacities to increase quantity, quality and consistenc­y of produce throughout the year. On the commercial­ization side, it will support the establishm­ent of product standard quality systems for halal and seaaqua products. It will also put in place quality control, certificat­ion procedures and processes, and physical infrastruc­tures, such as well-equipped modern laboratori­es and processing facilities.

In addition, the program will help the BARMM agri-business sector become a recognized regional player and an attractive investment opportunit­y by facilitati­ng the export of agri-products and processed food within the BIMPEAGA trade corridor.

The EU said it aims to support local competence and skills developmen­t with this program. It will promote local research and developmen­t that will focus on climate-resilient, agro

ecological farming systems, local craftsmans­hip, better hands-on farm management tools, improved farmer-centered and farmer-driven extension systems, and improved conservati­on processes as well as respect traditiona­l and indigenous knowledge. The program will also increase women’s participat­ion in business, open new employment opportunit­ies, and improve incomes.

Target outcomes will be achieved through partnershi­ps with internatio­nal organizati­ons specializi­ng in trade promotion and certificat­ion, close collaborat­ion with the local technical institutes, quality control services and university department­s, involvemen­t of the private sector, as well as through grants for locally based organizati­ons, such as civil society organizati­ons and cooperativ­es.

The EU will engage a technical assistance support service provider to work directly with local government­al bodies within the BARMM to improve their institutio­nal capacities.

 ?? ?? Coconut oil and other coconut products are among the potential export products from the Bangsamoro region. Image: Asian Developmen­t Bank.
Coconut oil and other coconut products are among the potential export products from the Bangsamoro region. Image: Asian Developmen­t Bank.

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