ARMM, WFP joint corn farm project takes off PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 10 May 2014 11:25

Officials are optimistic on the 300-hectare corn farm project involving Moro peasants in Maguindanao’s Datu Odin Sinsuat town, the World Food Program, and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Laisa Alamia, regional executive secretary of ARMM, said the project, which involves 300 Moro farmers, was something not planned on the drawing table far from the project site.

“It is not something forced into the community. It is a product of careful planning by the DAF-ARMM, the World Food Program and, most importantly, the Moro community involved in the agricultural initiative,” Alamia said.

The WFP and the DAF-ARMM started dispersing Wednesday high-grade seeds to Moro peasants involved in a 300-hectare communal corn farming project in Maguindanao.

The communal corn farm is located at a fertile plateau in Barangay Sifaran in the town of Datu Odin Sinsuat.

Launched last month, the project — a joint initiative of the United Nations’ WFP,  the ARMM’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, and the 300 farmers in Barangay Sifaran — showcases the viability of large-scale corn production in fertile lands in the province with the help of benefactors.

Makmod Mending, Jr., regional agriculture secretary of ARMM, said the release of the corn seeds was facilitated along with the on-field distribution by WFP personnel of rice to the families of the 300 farmers to sustain them while they wait for the harvest season.

Wednesday’s symbolic dispersal of the high-grade corn seeds, held at the tennis court of DAF-ARMM, was witnessed by Alamia, WFP’s Mihret Bizuneh, and Maguindanao’s provincial agricultural officer, Hadji Salik Panalunsong.

Alamia, who addressed the recipients of the corn seeds on behalf of ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman, said she is convinced that the project, being implemented in a consultative and inclusive manner, will improve the productivity of farmers in Barangay Sifaran.

The feasibility of the project had been carefully studied by its benefactors and beneficiary-peasants, she said.

Alamia said there is much reason for regional officials to be optimistic of  a successful outcome of the 300-hectare corn farming project owing to the “hands-on” involvement in its implementation by Mending, an agriculturist-lawyer, and experts from the WFP, who are directly managing the entity’s operations in Mindanao.

Mending said the corn production venture will not just earn for the 300 farmers extra income, but will also hasten the restoration of normalcy in Barangay Sifaran and surrounding districts, as envisioned by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Mending said the UN-assisted project will not only boost the local economy, but can also complement the socio-economic components of the government-MILF peace efforts.