The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has vowed to provide new agricultural technologies and help bolster agrarian reform in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
In a press release on Thursday, DAR said a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between its Office for Mindanao Affairs (OMA) and the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR) of the Bangsamoro government.
DAR said Secretary Conrado Estrella III signed the MOU with BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim on Nov. 28.
Pending the Presidential Agrarian Reform Committee convention expected to be held in 2024, Estrella said he plans to secure additional funding for support services in the Bangsamoro region and bring more infrastructure projects, farm machinery and equipment, and agricultural inputs for the people.
“We will also provide new agricultural technologies and introduce more modern and scientific ways of farming to BARMM’s farmer-beneficiaries,” he said.
The signing of the policy framework is an important milestone for DAR as this is the first time that BARMM established a partnership with the agency since the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law in 1988.
Estrella said close coordination must be done with the Bangsamoro government to successfully implement DAR’s main programs that include land distribution, agrarian justice delivery and provision of support services.
He said about 103,344.58 hectares are available for distribution in Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and in Special Geographic Areas that is expected to benefit about 65,379 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs), 280 ARB organizations and 110 agrarian reform communities.
OMA Undersecretary Amihilda Sangcopan said the MOU is a testament to Estrella’s commitment to bring DAR closer to the people of Mindanao and to BARMM.
“This MOU strongly affirms the commitment of DAR and BARMM to improve the lives of farmers and families, reflecting Secretary Estrella’s unwavering dedication to pave the way for a more sustainable future for the well-being of every farmer in the country,” Sangcopan said.
Meanwhile, Ebrahim envisions the newly signed MOU as the cornerstone of the Bangsamoro region’s agrarian reform program, strengthening its implementation as it aligns with their priority agenda which emphasizes boosting the value-chain in ensuring rural development, bolstering regional food security, and strengthening agri-fisheries production to improve the socio-economic lives of the farmers and their families. (PNA)