DAR taps MSU for flagship project for farmers in SouthCot

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 26 Feb) – The Department of Agrarian (DAR) has linked up with Mindanao State University (MSU) here to enhance the implementation of the flagship Mindanao Sustainable Agrarian and Agriculture Development (MinSAAD) project in South Cotabato province.

Felix Frias, South Cotabato provincial agrarian reform office head, said Wednesday they signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the MSU campus here for the conduct of organizational and enterprise needs assessment for the project’s prospective beneficiaries.

He said the move was mainly aimed to ensure the proper implementation of the MinSAAD project in the area.

“We tapped MSU, through its experts, as our main consultant for this project,” the official said.

Frias signed the MOA on behalf of DAR while chancellor Abdurrhaman Canacan represented the university.

Under the agreement, he said the university will lead the conduct of organizational and enterprise needs assessment among agrarian reform beneficiary organizations and other community stakeholders within the South Cotabato resettlement area.

MSU was also tasked to design and conduct an assessment on proposed sub-projects under the MinSAAD, he said.

Frias sad the university was initially assigned to conduct interviews and focus group discussions among prospective project beneficiaries in the area.

He said MSU has designated Dr. Wilfred Bidad, director of the university’s extension unit, as coordinator for the project.

MinSAAD, which was launched by the national government last year, is a poverty alleviation program implemented by DAR for agrarian reform beneficiaries in Mindanao.

The government has allocated around P4.4 billion for the project, which is supported by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

A project briefer said MinSAAD, which will directly benefit around 70,000 agrarian reform beneficiaries in 216 barangays in Mindanao, mainly aims to improve the living condition of more than 400,000 residents located in 12 settlement areas in Central, Northern and Southern Mindanao.

“It is designed to increase agricultural productivity, product value and income of agrarian reform beneficiaries and other small-scale farmers through provision of agricultural infrastructures and other capacity-building support,” it said.

The comprehensive package of support services covered by the project include the construction of farm-to-market roads, bridges, irrigations and potable water systems as well as the provision of technical assistance and linkages between farmers and financing institutions.