30,000 ARMM farmers to get help from Italy

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08:52 PM February 4th, 2013

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February 4th, 2013 08:52 PM

DAVAO CITY—Ten towns in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will benefit from some P2.5-billion assistance, mainly from the Italian government, to uplift the conditions of over 30,000 agrarian reform beneficiaries in the area.

ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman said the Italian aid will go a long way in improving the lives of people in 35 agrarian reform communities through the building of rural infrastructure and providing start-up financing for livelihood projects and microenterprises in the area, not only for agrarian reform beneficiaries but also for indigenous peoples, fisherfolk and upland farmers in these communities.

The project, funded mainly by a soft load of 26,190 euro (P1.57 billion), a grant of 1.35 million euro (P81 million) from the Italian government and some P866-million Philippine government counterpart, will benefit 53,000 households and will be carried out in the next six years, said Hataman during the signing of the memorandum of agreement with the Department of Agrarian Reform for the implementation of the program.

“This means a lot to us, especially in the context of the signing of the framework agreement,” Hataman said, referring to the document signed between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in October last year that is expected to pave the way for the end of the four-decade old Moro conflict in Mindanao.

Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes said the project would be poured into the Maguindanao towns of Datu Montawal, Datu Piang, North Upi, SK Pendatun and Sultan Mastura; and the Lanao del Sur towns of Wao, Bubong, Kapatagan, Balindong and Malabang, among others.

The project seeks to increase agricultural productivity of agrarian reform communities, develop viable markets for traditional crops and cash crops and fishery products, strengthen the organizations of agrarian reform beneficiaries and improve their access to quality economic and basic support services.

Hataman said the six-year development project seeks to address rural poverty and promote sustainable development in rural Mindanao. Germelina Lacorte, Inquirer Mindanao

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