A total of 122 farmers from Saniag, Ampatuan, Maguindanao del Sur, and Lower Kadigasan, Midsayap, Special Geographic Areas (SGA), have completed a year-long Farmers Field School (FFS) under the project Extending the LIIFE Model to New MILF Communities in Maguindanao and Cotabato, thru extensive training on organic vegetable production, organic fertilizer, herbicides, and pesticides production, poultry management, livestock deworming, record keeping and organizing farmers associations, that culminated with graduation ceremonies in their respective barangays in recognition of their untiring and invaluable contribution to the project.

The Livelihood Improvement thru Facilitated Extension (LIFE) Model to New MILF  Communities in Maguindanao and Cotabato is a partnership project of the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS) and the University of the Philippines – Mindanao Foundation, Incorporated (UPMFI) with support from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) – Australia that aims to build improved and sustainable agricultural livelihoods that lead to more productive and stable communities within MILF and BARMM areas.

Some important components of the project include the livelihood improvement through agricultural innovation and the development of farm-based small business enterprises, the Development of social capital and human development including the engagement of women and youth in peace-building initiatives, Community resilience building involving strengthening of partnerships with LGUs and other relevant service providers, development of small community infrastructure projects, disaster risk reduction, and coordination of services with BARMM agencies, and, training across all three of the above components as central priority of the project.

Barangay Saniag has 75 farmers from the Saniag Tri-People Farmers’ Association and Saniag Upland Farmers’ Association who graduated from the program that was held at the Covered Court of Saniag Elementary School last July 8, 2023. The ceremony was graced and witnessed by the BLGU officials headed by Honorable Barangay Chairwoman Bai Sheradin Sangki, LGU Ampatuan represented by the Honorable Sangguniang Bayan Member Datu Samaludin Sangki, Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs (MIPA)-BARMM represented by Elenor Binansil and Almani Angeles, President of Almani Marketing Cooperative, Inc. based from  Mamasapano, Maguindanao del Sur, also gave their support messages to the farmers.

Barangay Kadigasan with 47 farmers from Lower Kadigasan Farmers Association also graduated that was held at the Covered Court of the barangay last July 11, 2023, that graced and witnessed by the Barangay Secretary Jojo Patukan, Ministry of Labor and Employment (MOLE)-BARMM represented by April Bai Ali and MBHTE-TESD-SGA represented by Community Trainer Modin Adil.

A video presentation highlighting the achievements of the project, showcasing of farmers’ products, distribution of certificates of accomplishment and farm tools which composed of 2 pieces shovel, rake, and a Knapsack sprayer per farmer were some of the highlights of the event. Each program has culminated with a community mini-Kanduli (offering) to celebrate the farmers’ momentous achievement.

On the other hand, the farmers of Barangay Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao del Norte and  Upper Kadigasan in Midsayap, SGA, will have their graduation ceremony on July 18 and 25, 2023, respectively.

By: Mohamad Omar
Project Officer