World Bank OKs $100-M agri loan for Mindanao IP areas
OZAMIZ CITY — The World Bank (WB) has approved a $100-million loan to the government to fund agriculture and fishery production initiatives in indigenous peoples’ (IP) ancestral domain areas of Mindanao in the next five years.
Around 120,000 farmers and fishers are set to benefit from the Mindanao Inclusive Agriculture Development Project (MIADP) that will revitalize while protecting the natural resources of ancestral domain lands that were either “unused or under subsistence cultivation by indigenous peoples,” the WB said in a statement.
Organized farmers and fishers in the 26 ancestral domain areas in six regions of Mindanao, which are considered among the poorest and most vulnerable in the country, would benefit from MIADP’s technical, organizational, and management support, the WB said.
The Department of Agriculture will be the lead agency in implementing MIADP, in partnership with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.
During the Mindanao Development Forum organized by the Mindanao Development Authority last week, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the MIADP supports the food security agenda of the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and addresses the persistent poverty experienced by indigenous peoples in Mindanao.
Too many poor people
“Mindanao is home to about 25 percent of the Philippines’ population but accounts for 35 percent of the country’s poor,” with “poverty in indigenous cultural communities even higher, with 68 percent living below the poverty line,” noted Ndiamé Diop, WB Country Director for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand.
The WB has noted that inadequate road infrastructure, frequent landslides causing extended periods of isolation, and limited access to technical services, markets, finance, electricity, internet and telephone services have hindered the development of agriculture in ancestral domain areas.
To foster stronger connections between ancestral domains and markets, the MIADP will fund the rehabilitation of roads and bridges, and installation of agricultural tramline systems; and the construction of small-scale and solar-powered irrigation systems, potable water systems and post-harvest facilities, such as storage units and trading posts.
—RYAN D. ROSAURO