Paving the Road to a Food Secure Bangsamoro

Date Published: March 28, 2023

Road connectivity in the Province of Sulu has been a longstanding issue for rural communities. For years, farmers and fisherfolk in these areas struggled to transport their products to market due to the lack of accessible roads. With the construction of MAFAR-PRDP’s first farm-to-market road in the Municipality of Lugus also comes the opening up of economic opportunities in their communities.

On April 23, 2020, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Agrarian Reform – Philippine Rural Development Project (MAFAR-PRDP) and the Local Government of Lugus embarked on the “Concreting of Barangay Parian Kayawan – Pait – Rugasan – Kutah Parang – Mantan Farm to Market Road” subproject as part of their effort to improve infrastructure towards a food-secure Bangsamoro.

The road stretches over 8.36 kilometers, connecting the Barangays of Parian Kayawan, Pait, Rugusan-Kutah Parang, and Mantan cost amounting to Php.138,896,888.60, funded by the World Bank, was completed on December 15, 2022, and finally handed over to LGU Sulu on March 16, 2023. This new road has been a game-changer for farmers and fisherfolk in the area.

Municipal Mayor of Lugus, Hon. Hadar M. Hajiri, Al-Hadj, emphasized the positive impact of the FMR on boosting economic growth in their community, saying that the road brings them massive changes, especially to their farmers.

“This project is a first for our community. We thank MAFAR-PRDP, the World Bank, and the Bangsamoro Government for this project,” said Hajiri. “On our part, we will assure you that we will take care of this project,”

Hussin A. Jumah a farmer resident said the FMR will make a big difference in their community. “Before, we had to cross the sea using a pump boat to deliver our products to the market, and sometimes we used a handcart to deliver our products,” said Jumah. “It was challenging, especially during the rainy season. Now, we can transport our crops more efficiently, which will help us earn more income.”

The farm-to-market road has also opened up new opportunities for farmers in the area. Farmers can grow diverse crops and expand their businesses with easier market access. Some traders have even started buying farmers’ products, reaching them in their area.

In addition to benefiting farmers, the road has also improved the lives of many other residents in the region. Improved road connectivity has made it easier for people to access health services and education and spurred the growth of small businesses in the area.

Overall, the farm-to-market road has significantly impacted the economic growth of farmers and fisherfolk in the Bangsamoro region, especially since the Province of Sulu is one of the top contributors to fisheries production, making the BARMM region breaks the record declared by the Philippine Statistics Authority as the top highest volume of Fisheries Production for the year 2022.In line with President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s FMR Network Plan in promoting food security and empowering rural communities, the Bangsamoro region continued to strengthen the implementation of FMR in various remote areas with active agricultural production to address supply chain concerns. With continued investment in infrastructure, the BARMM has the potential to become a major economic hub, benefiting both rural and urban communities alike. # ( | )

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