By Armando Fenequito Jr.
DAVAO CITY – The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) is now implementing a program called “One MinDa, One Data”, which aims to establish a database for all of the development projects being undertaken in the Southern Philippines.
MinDA Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said, in a statement, that with a guided accurate data, the government could implement more responsive and meaningful interventions, especially in times of crisis.
Piñol cited as example the agriculture practice of compiling all the profiles of farmers, their farm locations, their produce, their expected volume of harvests and challenges, like access to the market and infrastructure needs.
“As we are confronted with the worldwide pandemic, the most urgent need now is to have an accurate inventory of how much food reserves we have, the projected consumption, the expected production and where would be the sources of the food supplies,” he said.
“Shortly before the presidential elections of 2016, I was able to rush a publication of a book, Feeding Millions, which basically spelled out the thrusts in Agriculture and Fisheries under the next administration,” Piñol added.
He also said that the book was a product of the many intellectual sparring with then Davao City Mayor Rody Duterte, long before he took up the challenge and vie for the presidency.
Piñol said the book discussed top three issues like the establishment of an easily-accessible digital tool which farmers and agricultural investors could use to guide them on what to plant and where.
“This gave birth to the program called National Color-Coded Agriculture Guide Map which is accessible through www.farmersguidemap.gov.ph which was completed in the first eight months of the Duterte Presidency and launched on March 7, 2017,” he said.
He said the other issue was availability of low-interest financing for agriculture and fisheries stakeholders which was launched on June 23, 2017 in Malimono, Surigao del Norte.
Piñol said the financing program came in three schemes – the Production Lean Easy Access (PLEA), the Survival and Recovery Loan Program (SURE) and the Agriculture and Fisheries Machinery and Equipment Loan Program (AFME).
“When I presented the concept to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, they embraced the idea and provided a $300,000 funding to conduct the study,” he said.
He said that the study, which started in 2018, was on-going and while it may not have provided the needed data as the country is confronted with the food security concerns on the 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, it will make the country more prepared for the next crisis.
“I am sharing these thoughts to emphasize the need for accurate data on food consumption and production so that the requirements of the country’s growing population could be well projected and prepared for,” he said.