By Yas D. Ocampo
Davao City – The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has signed an agreement with the Embassy of New Zealand for an assistance worth P130 million that would benefit areas in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
The document was signed during the introduction of the honorary consuls in Davao and Cebu earlier this week at the Marco Polo Davao here.
The amount would benefit around 3,000 households in North Cotabato and Maguindanao, according to New Zealand Ambassador David Strachan.
Both offices noted that there was an immediate need for providing aid in terms of funding for agriculture, as the Philippines is expected to sign a law that would create a Bangsamoro region to replace the ARMM.
“We aim to create opportunities to increase people’s incomes, facilitate linkages with the value chain, ensure market opportunities in growth centers and help communities to become more proactive in dealing with future shocks,” Jose Luis Fernandez, FAO representative to the Philippines, said.
The funding is intended to finance projects in support of food security, farming inputs and machinery, as well as trainings and post-harvest facilities.
The New Zealand Government, through its ministry here, has also pledged to assist in the rehabilitation of Marawi City, a year after martial law was declared in the entire island of Mindanao following a siege in the Islamic City.