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A promising future for BARMM’s agriculture (Last of 3 parts)

The executives of BAEP-CRESCENT during the BAEP-CRESCENT launching.From L-R: Capt. Tito Zosa, Ret. Gen. Gerry Zamudio Jr., Gerry Constantino, Myrto Christofidou. (File photo)

Agriculture remains the backbone of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). Since the Bangsamoro Transitional Authority took office in 2019, there has been a growing focus on supporting the industry. Private institutions are playing a key role, offering technical and financial assistance to farmers and entrepreneurs.

A collaborative approach: BAEP CRESCENT

One such initiative is the Bangsamoro Agricultural Enterprises Program (BAEP)- CRESCENT (Creating Responsible, Sustainable and Competitive Enterprises) in the BARMM Agri-business sector, implemented by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP).
ECCP Southern Mindanao chair Tony Peralta highlights the crucial role of local government units’ (LGUs) annual investment plans (AIP) and local development investment plans (LDIPs) in guiding BAEP CRESCENT’s implementation.
“These plans,” explains Peralta, “allow us to tailor our project interventions to existing agricultural value chains and development goals within BARMM’s farming communities.”

During the BAEP-CRESCENT launching on Feb 15, 2024 at SEDA Hotel. From L-R: Ronnie Samong, Gerry Constantino, DG Rosslaini Alonto, Jake Almanzor. (File photo)

The project takes a collaborative approach, working with farmer cooperatives to improve agricultural practices. This includes implementing product certification programs that ensure adherence to production standards throughout the farming cycle.

BARMM ministries, such as the Ministry of Trade, Investment and Tourism (MTIT) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (MAFAR), have also played a vital role. They provided data on priority agri-based value chains, which informed BAEP CRESCENT’s design and interventions. More importantly, they facilitated on-ground coordination, ensuring smooth and efficient project implementation.

Vision: A thriving agricultural economy

The long-term vision of BAEP CRESCENT is to transform BARMM’s agricultural landscape. It envisions self-sustaining agricultural communities supported by a network of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) engaged in various aspects of the agricultural value chain. These MSMEs, operating within private sector-led value chains, will focus on areas like plantation agriculture, adhering to production standards, post-harvest management, processing, and shared service facilities.

This transformation is expected to lead to improved farm incomes, better logistics infrastructure for smoother movement of goods, and potentially a production cluster model to optimize economies of scale within these communities.

In one of the events of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines. From L-R: Jochen Bitzer, Sinnan Esserman, Paulo Duarte, Helen Grace Baisa, Albert Perez, Florian Gottein, Dr. Diana Edralin. (File photo, BAEP-CRESCENT)

Beyond Agriculture: infrastructure, investment, and job creation

BAEP CRESCENT recognizes that infrastructure development and connectivity are crucial for a thriving regional economy. The project adopts a two-pronged approach, working with both farmer cooperatives and large-scale investors to establish anchor firms within these value chain systems. Additionally, the project will advocate for critical investments to ensure a steady supply of power and water. They will also explore Islamic financing options and the use of renewable energy sources, potentially through establishing solar farms, to bridge funding gaps and provide electricity for agricultural MSMEs.

The project’s impact is expected to extend beyond farm productivity. BAEP CRESCENT anticipates the creation of numerous employment opportunities across various segments of the agricultural value chain, from production and plant care to post-harvest handling, processing, warehousing, marketing, and sales. The project also recognizes that investments facilitated by BAEP CRESCENT will lead to a significant increase in jobs within the strengthened MSME sector.

The collaborative effort of BARMM’s local government units, BAEP CRESCENT, and stakeholders paints a promising picture for the region’s agricultural future. With a focus on empowering farmers, promoting responsible practices, and fostering a robust agricultural ecosystem, the project has the potential to significantly improve the socio-economic landscape of BARMM.



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