By Ali G. Macabalang
DAVAO CITY – As communities directly suffer from the current global crisis, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) has asserted that further boosting agricultural productivity could be a possible way to economic recovery.
MinDA Deputy Executive Director and Assistant Secretary Romeo Montenegro made the assertion during the Kusog Mindanaw Virtual Conference Series’ episode on Wednesday, citing data that six out of 10 jobs in Mindanao are related to the agricultural value chain.
“So if we wanted to bring back jobs that were lost and create more jobs in the rural areas in moving forward, our direction should be value-adding expanding our agriculture development in Mindanao,” Dr. Adrian Tamayo, chief of the MinDA communications department, quoted Montenegro as telling virtual conference.
Montenegro presented the facts and figures of Mindanao’s thriving economic landscape amid the health pandemic, with agriculture and other related industries as growth drivers.
“These prove that despite the global crisis’ shocks and disruptions, the island region can attribute its resilience to agriculture being the only sector that poses a positive growth in this challenging time,” he stressed.
Montenegro also batted for Mindanao’s equitable budget share and pushed for the prioritization of vital infrastructures and industries development, which are needed to usher in an inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development in the island region.
“An example of how we would want several other LGUs to look at in terms of approach is on a business case we are now developing in Taraka, Lanao del Sur,” he said.
Taraka, a fourth class town, has availed of PHP200 million loan from the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) for the construction of six solar-powered irrigation system (SPIS) and water supply system to value add agriculture productivity, Montenegro said, citing MinDA’s help in the grant of the loan.
Traka’s is the first SPIS established under the Mindanao Water Supply Program launched by MinDA, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and DBP, the agencies involved in crafting the MinDAWater Program.
Currently, rice farmers of Taraka, an old town beside the 34,000-hectare Lake Lanao, will plant a second crop in one year with the opening of the first-ever local government-funded SPIS, Dr. Tamayo said. (AGM)