Saturday May, 21 2022 03:27:49 AM

Biz blocs elated with multi-billion SPDA Lanao Sur agri project

AGRICULTURE • 21:15 PM Sat Nov 20, 2021
John M. Unson
One of the amazingly large tractors to be used in the 26,000-hectare corn and soya propagation project.  (John Unson)

COTABATO CITY --- Stakeholders said Saturday the multi-billion agricultural project of the Southern Philippines Development Authority in Lanao del Sur will put the Bangsamoro region into Asia’s business map.

SPDA Administrator Gerry Salapuddin, Agriculture Secretary William Dar and senior officials of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao together launched last Tuesday the Agro-Industrial Development Program (AIDP) covering Amai Manabilang and Wao towns in Lanao del Sur.

Dar was accompanied to Amai Manabilang, where the symbolic rite was held, by DA’s undersecretary, Zamzamin Ampatuan, and Regional Ministers Eduard Uy Guerra and Dickson Hermoso of the Bangsamoro public works and transportation and communication ministries, respectively.

The 26,000-hectare agricultural project, whose benefactors include the multinational Asia Pacific Precision Agriculture Group, or ASPC AG, is focused on large-scale propagation of soya and corn in both towns, to be marketed in Islamic countries in the Middle East and in Asia.

Bai Sandra Siang, president of the Muslim Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Kutawato Incorporated, said Saturday she is certain the AIDP will usher in economic boom in Amai Manabilang and Wao towns.

“Many former Moro guerillas now covered by the peace process between Malacañang and the BARMM government shall gain from this project in terms of livelihood opportunities,” she said.  

Mohammad Pasigan, president of Bangsamoro Business Club, said he is convinced the AIDP, a proof that it is safe now in most parts of the autonomous region, will entice other foreign investors to put up viable agricultural ventures in the area.

He said the improving business climate in the Bangsamoro region is an apparent dividend of the government’s southern Mindanao peace process that aims to put a diplomatic closure to the Moro issue hounding the country since the early ‘70s.

“This colossal AIDP supports the socio-economic agenda of Malacañang and the newly-established Bangsamoro government. A steady source of income for our people will catalyze peace in the autonomous region,” Salapuddin said Saturday.

Local officials told reporters Saturday no fewer than 20,000 Muslim and Christian farmers in Lanao del Sur’s adjoining Amai Manabilang and Wao towns stand to benefit from the project. 

The project is also supported by the local government units of Amai Manabilang and Wao, both in Lanao del Sur, one of the five provinces inside BARMM’s core territory, and the office of Gov. Mamintal Adiong, Jr.

The ASPC AG brought to Amai Manabilang costly farming equipment, including overly-large remote-controlled farm tractors early on, something that fascinated local residents and the business communities in nearby Bukidnon province. 

“The SPDA is grateful to Agriculture Secretary Dar for attending the symbolic launching of the project,” Salapuddin said.

ASPC AG representatives Wilson De Vera and a companion, the US citizen Johnny Brown, officials of the Lanao del Sur Corn Development Corporation and former Secretary Emmanuel Piñol of the Mindanao Development Authority were also present in Tuesday’s activity. 


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