DA allots P510 M for FMRs, agri-fishery projects in ARMM

THE Aquino government will allocate P510 Million in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) increase the productivity and incomes of small and marginal farmers and fisherfolk subsequently free them from poverty, and transform the region into a major farm and fishery producer.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said “the project is part of the Aquino administration’s P8.59-billion Transition Investment Support Plan (TISP) or ‘stimulus fund’ for the ARMM.”

The DA’s share will bankroll farm-to-market roads (FMRs), and several agri-fishery projects, which are part of continuing support and commitment to the agriculture sector of the region, the DA chief said.

Of the P510-M allocation, about P293 M will be spent to construct FMRs, establish a halal livestock facility (P23 M), and a rubber nursery (P5 M). The DA will also provide qualified farmers’ groups cassava graters with presser, worth P5.75 M, Alcala said.

To formalize the fund allocation, Secretary Alcala forged a memorandum of agreement with ARMM Governor Mujiv S. Hataman, June 19, 2012 in Davao City, after the DA chief launched several agri-fishery projects and consulted with farmers, fishers and local government officials in Maguindanao, the 80th province he visited since he assumed office in July 2010.

He said the P510-M allocation is on top of the regular budget for DA commodity programs (rice, corn, high value crops, fisheries and livestock), irrigation projects funded by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), and foreign-assisted projects like the Mindanao Rural Development program (MRDP).

For instance, Secretary Alcala said the DA is allotting this year an initial P52 M for the ARMM to pursue rice program projects and initiatives.

“Under the MRDP, the total portfolio for ARMM is P726 M for FMRs and other rural infrastructure and agri-fishery livelihood projects,” he said.

For irrigation projects, Maguindanao alone has a budget allocation of P470 M,” he added.

The government is implementing TISP to fast-track development initiatives in the ARMM, institute governance reforms, improve service delivery, create enabling environment and attract public private partnership investments, and more importantly promote justice and social equity, and attain lasting peace.

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