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DAVAO CITY – As Mindanao directly suffers from the current global crisis, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) said Wednesday that boosting agriculture productivity anew could be a possible way to economic recovery.

During the Kusog Mindanaw Virtual Conference Series, MinDA Deputy Executive Director ASec. Romeo Montenegro cited that six out of 10 jobs in Mindanao are related to the agricultural value chain. "So if we wanted to bring back jobs that were lost and create more jobs in the rural areas in moving forward, our direction should be value-adding expanding our agriculture development in Mindanao," he said.

Montenegro presented the facts and figures of Mindanao's thriving economic landscape amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with agriculture and other related industries as growth drivers. "These prove that despite the global crisis' shocks and disruptions, the island region can attribute its resilience to agriculture being the only sector that poses a positive growth in this challenging time," he stressed.

Also, Montenegro bats for Mindanao's equitable budget share and pushes for the prioritization of catalytic infrastructures and industries development, which are needed to usher in an inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development in the island region.

"An example of how we would want several other LGUs to look at in terms of approach is on a business case we are now developing in Taraka, Lanao del Sur. Taraka, a fourth class municipality, has been able to take out PHP200 million loan from the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) for the construction of six solar-powered irrigation system (SPIS) and water supply system to value add agriculture productivity," he cited.

It is also the first SPIS to be established under the Mindanao Water Supply Program launched by MinDA, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and DBP, the agencies involved in crafting the MinDAWater Program. Currently, rice farmers of Taraka, an old town beside the 34,000-hectare Lake Lanao, will plant a second crop in one year with the opening of the first-ever local government-funded SPIS.#

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