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FAO, Japan partner to bolster agri project in BARMM

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Cognizant of the looming food security and the need to boost agri sector in the entire Philippines, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations organized a Workshop for Japan-Funded Agricultural Project in BARMM on March 12, 2024.

“We should continue to give our utmost devotion to our work in order to help uplift the socio-economic life of our farmers in the Bangsamoro,” said Dr. Daud Lagasi, director general for agriculture services of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR) as he welcomed participants of the After-Action Review (AAR) and Sustainability Workshop at the SMX Function Hall in SM Lanang, Davao City.

The workshop, organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), took stock of the implementation of the “Project for Sustaining Rice and Corn Production in BARMM through the Provision and Efficient Use of Fertilizers Amidst the Global Impacts of Ukraine War,” supported by the People of Japan, as it approaches completion on March 21, 2024. The gathering served as a collaborative platform for key partners and stakeholders to share insights, extract valuable lessons, and develop recommendations for related projects to be initiated. 

“The Government of Japan, through various schemes, has extended assistance to BARMM across various sectors including agriculture,” said Mr. Jumpei Tachikawa, First Secretary and Agriculture Attaché of the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines. “As your reliable partner, you can rest assured that we will continue to do our best to support the Philippines’ steadfast efforts in realizing the promise of food security and sustainable agriculture in BARMM.”

Ms. Sarah Lacson, Assistant FAO Representative for Administration, highlighted the project’s broader implications: “This project signifies more than mere initiative; it embodies our dedication to safeguarding the resilient livelihoods of our farmers and ensuring food security for future generations in BARMM.”

The Philippines may not directly depend on Russian and Ukrainian fertilizers, but the global shortage that is a direct consequence of the ongoing war in Ukraine has led to escalating prices, posing a significant threat to the country’s agriculture sector. The project, a collaboration between FAO and MAFAR, supports small-holder farmers in BARMM, focusing on sustaining and enhancing rice and corn production through efficient fertilizer use and capacity building. The project aims to boost agricultural productivity and enhance the resilience of farming communities in the region through provision of chemical fertilizers, and training on soil testing and efficient fertilizer utilization.

The project has exceeded targets, providing quality inorganic fertilizer to 1,343 rice farmers and 6,791 corn farmers in the provinces of Maguindanao del Sur and Lanao del Sur. Eighty-seven samples were collected from rice and corn farms. In addition, they provided training to 96 municipal agricultural technicians on soil testing, nutrient management, and Geographic Information System.

Partner academies provided insights, among them were: Sultan Kudarat State University, University of Southern Mindanao-Kabacan, Mindanao State University-Main Campus, and Mindanao State University-Maguindanao.

MAFAR regional officials, municipal officers, and representatives from Special Geographic Areas (SGA), as well as FAO Philippine Country Office officials supported the AAR.

The AAR marked a significant milestone in evaluating the project’s impact and charting the course for sustainable agricultural development in BARMM.

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