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Taraka, Lanao del Sur. Photo by MinDA.

 

by Secretary Emmanuel Piñol
Chairman, Mindanao Development Authority

Taraka, Lanao del Sur - This quaint old town by the side of the vast Lake Lanao could soon become a model for Rural Development in the Bangsamoro Region.

Selected by the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) as the site of its first Mindanao Water Supply Program (MinDAWater) implementation, Taraka is being groomed to serve as a symbol of hope in a province wracked by violence and considered one of the poorest in the whole coutry.

Aside from the six units of Solar-Powered Irrigation projects to irrigate its rice fields and a huge Solar-Powered Water System to supply potable water to the households, Taraka is also developing a learning center for farmers and housewives.

The Maranao New Hope Agricultural Learning Center (MAHAL Center) will serve as an informal school for farmers in Lanao del Sur with actual models of livelihood projects for actual application in their farms.

The Taraka LGU has already acquired a 5-hectare area for the MAHAL Center which MinDA and other agencies and private groups will support with livelihood projects assistance.

Livelihood packages for the area finalized by the group include egg and broiler production with Pilmico donating 4,300 layers for 43 barangays, and CP Foods Thailand to donate corn seeds for feed; multiplier duck and tilapia farms for barangays near Lake Lanao; sorghum seeds to cover 200 hectares; corn seeds to cover 1,000 hectares; and 22 heads of goats for raising.

On top of this, a digital database of socio-economic profiles for every barangay in Taraka to ensure accountability and sustainability of interventions will be established with funding from MinDA.

All livelihood projects, including rice farming, will have a complete value chain to ensure that what comes out of Taraka would be finished products ready for the market.

What makes this effort remarkable is the fact that most of these projects are funded by the Taraka LGU through a loan acquired from the Development Bank of the Philippines.

Supporting the self-reliance initiative of Taraka, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) is providing technical assistance in the planning and the establishment of its Economic Enterprise Office to make sure that the loans are repaid through revenues earned by the projects.

In my recent meeting with officials of Taraka and members of the MinDA staff, I emphasized that we must all contribute to ensure the success of the effort to transform Taraka into a model town in the Bangsamoro Region and Mindanao.

Taraka in the years to come is expected to stand out as a progressive and peaceful town and a symbol that there is hope in this troubled land.

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