BARMM lawmakers file bill to modernize agriculture and empower farmers
MANILA, Philippines — A bill seeking to empower farmers and promote agribusiness growth in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has been filed in the Bangsamoro Parliament.
Parliament Bill No. 260, otherwise known as the Bangsamoro Agriculture Modernization Act of 2023, pushes for the implementation of agricultural modernization strategies, saying it would help Filipino farmers and the country’s agriculture sector alike.
The bill was principally authored by Members of Parliament Amir Mawallil, Hashemi Dilangalen, Hamid Malik, and Rasol Mitmug Jr. It was filed on Tuesday, October 17.
In a statement issued Friday, Mawallil explained the importance of the bill.
“It is but proper for the Bangsamoro government to enhance the productivity of this precious resource, especially with the abundance of water in our region. Modernizing agriculture and empowering our farmers is one way to honor the bounties of our lands,” said Mawallil.
The bill’s principal objective is to advance agriculture in BARMM. Mawallil, however, noted that in doing so, there is a need to provide comprehensive support to farmers and improve their agricultural practices and income.
This, according to the lawmaker, is why the measure supports three main areas:
- Access to capital
- Training and education
- Agribusiness development
Mawallil said in order to boost access to capital, the bill seeks to establish an Agriculture and Fisheries Financing System.
“[This] will guarantee a portion of loans issued by participating financial institutions to qualified farmers. This system shall incentivize participating financial institutions to offer loans with favorable terms and lower interest rates, longer repayment periods, and flexible payment schedules, thus reducing the financial burden on agricultural stakeholders,” said Mawallil.
To address issues on training and education, the measure pushes for the establishment of Agricultural and Fisheries Training Centers across the region.
“Training curricula will be developed in consultation with agricultural experts, research institutions, and farmer and fisher folk cooperatives,” said the lawmaker.
In terms of agribusiness development, Mawallil explained that the bill mandates the creation of Agribusiness Incubation Centers.
“These centers will offer expertise and shared facilities, including processing units, storage and packaging equipment and resources to help beneficiaries develop and market their products effectively,” said Mawallil.