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FAO, KOICA launch partnership to support peace and development in Mindanao

FAO Representative Jose Luis Fernandez and KOICA Philippines Country Director Shin Myung Seop sign a grant agreement to support peace & development in Mindanao, witnessed by KOICA President Ms. Lee Mi Kyung & UN Resident Coordinator Ola Almgren.

The Korean Government, through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have launched a partnership that will support efforts to foster sustainable peace and development in Mindanao.

Mr. Shin Myung Seop, Country Director of KOICA in the Philippines, and Mr Jose Luis Fernandez, FAO Representative in the Philippines, recently signed an agreement for a USD 5.8 million (approx. Php302.4 million) initiative that aims to contribute to improving agriculture and fisheries-based livelihoods, and accelerate agriculture-based enterprises in Mindanao. The launch of this landmark partnership coincides with the visit of KOICA President, Ms. Lee Mi Kyung, in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Korea and the Philippines.

To be implemented from 2019 – 2021 in the provinces of North Cotabato and Maguindanao, the project “Support to Agriculture and Agribusiness Enterprises in Mindanao for Sustainable Development” aims to sustain livelihood and increase income of farming and fishing households, primarily by enhancing agribusiness value chains of key commodities. The project will involve training/capacity building support to improve productivity, link to new market opportunities and enhance disaster risk reduction and management, as well as provide agricultural inputs (planting materials, fertilizers, etc.), livestock and poultry, fisheries inputs, farm machineries and equipment.

“The development of Mindanao is a priority agenda of the Duterte administration and the Korean government is supportive of peace and development in Mindanao. In this regard, it is meaningful that this project will cover not only Bangsamoro areas but also other areas in Mindanao. We are hopeful that the project will contribute to sustainable peace and development and inclusive growth in Mindanao,” Mr. SHIN said.

“Mindanao, especially its agriculture sector, has a huge potential to further spur economic growth of the Philippines,” Mr Fernandez said. “The region is widely known for its rich and diverse resources. However, its growth has been hampered by decades of conflict and, more recently, increasing severity and frequency of natural disasters.”

“FAO has long been working in the region, assisting farming and fishing households improve their livelihood productivity and resilience. Our partnership with KOICA will enable us to continue and  further expand our initiatives by not only enhancing productivity but also linking the farmers to the supply chain of agribusiness firms in major regional centers, thereby also increasing their access to capital, technology, and consumers. This project ultimately aims to help improve agri-based livelihoods, and ensure food security and nutrition in Mindanao.”

This project is currently the single largest contribution to FAO’s work in Mindanao and it will help establish a Halal training and business center in Cotabato City and corn silage processing plant in North Cotabato. FAO will also provide post-harvest facilities for rice and corn, and production and processing support for high value crops and fisheries. The project will support about 10,740 poor farming and fishing households in five municipalities in Maguindanao, five municipalities in North Cotabato, and Cotabato City.#