Sep 082014

THE Mindanao Inclusive Agri-Business Program was officially launched on Monday in a bid to foster inclusive growth and peace in the island.

“The initiative we launch today, the Mindanao Inclusive Agribusiness Program, comes at an opportune time, as we seek to transform Mindanao from the Land of Promise to the Land of Promises Fulfilled,” said President Beningo S. Aquino III in his key note message during the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) Mindanao Membership Meeting and Launch of Mindanao Inclusive Agri-Business Program yesterday at the SMX Convention Center, SM Lanang Premier, Davao City.

The program is a partnership between the Mindanao Development Authority (Minda) and the PBSP, a business-led social development organization in the country with some 250 members of small to large companies.

The partnership was formalized yesterday with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two parties. The MOU was signed by Minda chair Sec. Luwalhati R. Antonino and PBSP Mindanao regional committee chair Paul G. Dominguez.

“This program… outlines clear strategic imperatives towards harnessing the resources of Mindanao for the common good,” Aquino said.

He said through the Mindanao Inclusive Agribusiness Program, PBSP and its member companies and supporting agencies seek to engage the private sector to invest in Mindanao by helping build the capacities of its small farming communities, thus enabling them to capitalize on the rich resources and the many opportunities available in the region.

“It is worth noting that the [initiative] moves along the direction of Minda’s mandate to enhance socio-economic development of Mindanao by facilitating investments that redound to community empowerment, such as agribusiness projects where communities become integral to the supply chain,” said Antonino.

For his part, Dominguez said the program will help address the need to increase the income of those in the rural areas through livelihood.
“The program aims to link large corporations and small businesses,” he said.

Dominguez said the objective of the program is also to create opportunities for livelihood in the country side by encouraging large corporations to adopt an inclusive agri-business model.

He said the program will provide the opportunity to accelerate development in the country side.

“PBSP and Minda will be embarking in projects that seek to advance socio-economic opportunities in Mindanao especially among the poor and marginalized communities,” said PBSP executive director Rafael C. Lopa.

He said Minda and PBSP will also establish the Joint Enabling Secretariat for Inclusive Business (JESIB) in order to help address the needs and concerns of agri-businesses in the island.

Lopa said the secretariat will align its targets and activities with the Mindanao 2020 Peace Development Framework Plan and the Mindanao Development Corridors.

However, progressive groups have expressed displeasure to the program.

“Para ka namo dili mamahimong kalambuan sa mga katawhang kabus sa Mindanao ang mga proyekto ug programa ni Noynoy Aquino ug sa mga private sectors tungod kay ang maka binipisyo lang jud ani ang mga dagko na kapitalista (For us, those in the marginalized sector of Mindanao will not be able to experience development through the programs of the President and the private sectors because those who will only be able to benefit from these are the capitalists.),” said Bayan-Southern Mindanao secretary general Sheena Duazo during a protest at the venue.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 09, 2014.

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