PRDP releases P23M for seaweed, livestock projects in 2 ARMM provinces

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/ 26 July) – At least 10 agriculture-based startups in Maguindanao and Tawi-Tawi in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) received P23.2 million from the Philippine

Rural Development Program (PRDP) for projects in seaweed production and goat multiplication, fattening and marketing.

A fisherman show his newly-harvested seaweeds in Barangay Morong Point, Parang, Maguindanao. Seaweeds farming is one of the sources of living among the coastal folks in Parang. Photo by Arthur Yap

PRDP-Mindanao information unit head Sherwin Manual said in an interview on Wednesday the projects were chosen based on the proposals submitted by the local government units in the provinces.

As of July 25, there were 132 beneficiaries for the goat project in Mangudadatu, Gen. S.K. Pendatun, Rajah Buayan, Sultan Sa Barongis, and Buluan towns in Maguindanao, and 170 beneficiaries for seaweed production in Panglima Sugala, South Ubian, Sitangkal, Tandubas, and Sibulu towns in Tawi-Tawi under PRDP’s Investments in Rural Enterprise and Agriculture and Fisheries Productivity (I-REAP).

Under I-REAP, the PRDP has a total of 97 projects in Mindanao – 8 in Region 9, 38 in Region 10, 13 in Region 11, 16 in Region 12, 12 in CARAGA, and 10 in ARMM.

Manual said they hope to increase farmers’ competitiveness, leverage farmers and fisherfolk cooperatives and associations to be key players in the market, and further contribute to the full development and productivity of agricultural areas particularly in Mindanao.

He said they hope to increase incomes in rural communities.

The PRDP also wants their projects to result in “5-percent increase of farmers’ income annually; 7 percent increase in the value of marketed output; 20 percent increase in access of farmers to DA services; 30 percent increase in incomes of those direct beneficiaries of their enterprise development programs.”

The PRDP is a six-year (2014-2020) development platform of the national government, which seeks to partner with the LGUs and the private sector in providing key infrastructures, facilities, technology and information.

Since it started in 2014, the PRDP received a total of P27.5 billion. Over half of the amount went to I-BUILD (P18.54 billion), I-REAP (P6.93 billion), and Investments in AFMP Planning at the Local and National Levels or I-PLAN, and Implementation Support to PRDP or I-SUPPORT (P1.23 billion).

A report from the Philippine Statistics Authority said crop production in the five-province ARMM increased by 2.95% in 2017, growing to 3.2 million metric tons from 3.1 million MT in 2016.

The region’s production output in fruits, vegetables and non-food and industrial crops accounted for 11.35% of the Mindanao’s total production, placing the ARMM at fourth among the island’s six regions in terms of production level.

The growth was attributed to increases in sugarcane, which grew 204.7%; rubber, 9.9%; cassava, 2.94%; and banana (Cavendish, Lakatan and Saba), 6.75%.

It added the production of fruits reached 596,337.68 MT last year, growing by 6.17% compared to 561,682.49 MT in 2016.

The top fruit commodities of the ARMM were banana (569,677 MT), mango (12,198MT), and papaya (2,591MT). (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)