The Department of Agriculture (DA) allocated a total of P72.8 million to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR) for the 2023–2026 implementation of the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan (CFIDP) in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Through the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed by DA Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban and MAFAR Minister Mohammad Yacob on April 14, 2023, the DA and MAFAR will partner for the “Coconut-Based Coffee and/or Cacao Enterprise Development Project (C3EDP).”
“It is an honor for me as senior undersecretary to sign this agreement and hopefully we shall be able to support whatever we can in as far as providing funds for the Muslim Mindanao,” Undersecretary Panganiban.
In his message, the senior official expressed intentions of forging more partnerships with MAFAR for the improvement of the production of fruits and other high value crops for export.
The C3EDP, which is one of the CFIDP components, will be implemented by the DA-High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) and MAFAR to enhance the coffee and cacao industries under a sustainable environment, empower high-value crop producers, and improve the farmers’ income.
“We are very fortunate na ang BARMM ngayon ay ramdam na ang support ng national government. Thank you very much to his excellency, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr, for the support na nakita niya na priority ang BARMM for the building of peace and development,” Minister Yacob said.
Specifically, the C3EDP aims to support smallholder coconut farmers through intercropping with coffee and cacao, maximize use of coconut lands, increase the sufficiency of local coffee and cacao, develop community-based enterprises, and capacitate farmers to conserve and protect the natural resources.
Based on the MOA, the yearly allocation for MAFAR is P13 million (M) for 2023, P15.6M for 2024, P18.2M for 2025, and P26M for 2026. It covers the provisions for farm improvements through diversification and/or intercropping with coffee and cacao including the provision of agri-inputs and technical assistance and the establishment or upgrading of processing plants, machinery, and equipment, among others.
The project will be funded from the 10% annual allocation from the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund under the Republic Act 11524. The law aims to consolidate the benefits due to coconut farmers and expedite the delivery of said benefits to attain increased productivity and incomes, alleviate poverty, achieve social equality, and rehabilitate and modernize the coconut industry.
The DA-MAFAR MOA Signing was attended by DA Undersecretary for Special Concerns and BARMM Zamzamin Ampatuan, DA-Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) Administrator Bernie Cruz, DA-Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) Assistant Director for Regulatory Services Ruel Gesmundo, and DA-PCA BARMM Regional Manager Datumanong Pendi. ### (Gumamela Celes Bejarin, DA-AFID)