Agribiz program eyed for Mindanao’s poor
THE MINDANAO Development Authority (MinDA) is spearheading an agribusiness program, together with the academe and an international company, for the poor communities in Mindanao, including those war-torn areas.
In a press statement released Tuesday afternoon, the agency said that it has signed memorandum of agreement with Central Mindanao University (CMU) in Bukidnon and the South Cotabato-based iFresh Corp., for the drafting of the program which is designed to help former rebels, their communities and other poor villages in the island.
“To sustain the peace and development gains of the Duterte administration, we have started these intervention programs to help transform war zones into economic development zones and deliver meaningful socio-economic interventions through access to livelihood opportunities,” said Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol, chair of MinDA.
Piñol said even overseas Filipino workers and those who have fallen victims to calamities like the earthquakes late last year as this will make them both productive and self-reliant.
This developed as CMU is establishing a center for free range chicken propagation and development of
chicken by-products, said Dr. Jesus Antonio G. Derije, president of the university.
Although he did not mention the capital expenditure for the project as well as who will shoulder the cost for setting it up, Derije said the plan is for the center to even become an agri-tourism destination in Mindanao and will also be equipped with complete biosecurity features.
“We are looking at this facility as a ‘chicken haven’, which will showcase local varieties of chicken in Mindanao,” he added.
Under the program, which the agency named as New Harmonizing Opportunities for People Empowerment, it is collaborating with state universities and other institutions of higher learning in putting up centers in Mindanao that will offer short training courses on agribusiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy,” said Piñol.
Those who will complete the training will be enrolled in the Livelihood in Villages for Economic Upliftment will they will be provided capital to start their ventures as the agency and the company, as its private partner, will assist them in marketing and linkingup with potential buyers, either locally or abroad.
One foreign group that the agency is considering to partner with, as its officials visited the country last year, was the one from Qatar as it was interested in buying free-range chicken.