By Mike Crismundo
BUTUAN CITY – The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) on Tuesday declared that among the priority targets of the project Convergence on Value Chain Enhancement for Rural Growth and Development (ConVERGE), a flagship project of International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), are also lumad (native) communities, or the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) tribes in Mindanao.
Joie L. Ceballos, regional spokesperson of DAR 13 ,said the agency is not only targeting the agrarian reform beneficiaries of the agency’s ConVERGE-IFAD project but also the different tribes in Mindanao.
These tribes are Higaonon, Mamanwa, Manobo, Tubano, Tausog and Mandaya in Northeastern Mindanao (Caraga region); the Subanon of Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga del Norte (Region lX); the Tala-andig and Camiguin IPs of Northern Mindanao (Region 10), he said.
“These IP communities are also among the priorities of the ConVERGE-IFAD development projects and services under the administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte,” Ceballos told The Manila Bulletin on Tuesday.
The objective of the program is to reduce poverty incidence and the vulnerability of farmers and IPs through crop diversification and processing of raw materials, either as semi-finished or finished products to increase farm income, productivity and competitiveness of farmers, he said.
ConVERGE-IFAD projects are implemented in three region’s in Mindanao- Caraga (Region 13), Northern Mindanao (Region 10) and Zamboanga Peninsula (Region lX) and these regions are producing rice, rubber, coffee and cassava, among others, he said.
The project ConVERGE is a flagship project of IFAD, a specialized agency of the United Nations dedicated to eradicate rural poverty in developing countries, he added.
More than 300,000 small farm owners in the three regions would be elevated to a higher level of development by assisting and guiding them in terms of product development and market linkage, Ceballos said.
Northern Mindanao DAR Regional Director Faisar A. Mambuay is heading the ConVERGE projects cluster, along with DAR 13 Regional Director Engr. Felix B. Aguhob and DAR lX Regional Director Julita A. Ragandang, the Region’s DAR 13 spokesperson said.
“The ConVERGE projects are now ongoing in 11 agrarian reform community clusters in the three region’s in Mindanao,” he added.
Tags: Caraga region, Department of Agrarian Reform, IFAD, Indigenous Peoples, International Fund for Agricultural Development, Joie L. Ceballos, Manila Bulletin, Northeastern Mindanao, Northern Mindanao, President Rodrigo R. Duterte, Rural Growth and Development