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New farm-to-market road to boost local economy in Sulu

COTABATO CITY—The Bangsamoro Government has completed a new farm-to-market road (FMR) that is expected to provide a faster and safer route for farmers to transport produce and farm goods to local markets in the island province of Sulu.

The 8.6-kilometer (km) Farm-to-Market Road (FMR) project, which will boost the local economy in the said province, was officially turned over by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Agrarian Reform – Philippine Rural Development Project (MAFAR-PRDP) to municipal local government unit (MLGU) of Lugus, in Sulu on March 16, 2023.

The project, which covers 2,787 hectares, was funded by the World Bank with a total cost of Php 138,896,888.60. It covers the Barangays of Parian Kayawan, Pait, Rugusan-Kutah, Parang, and Mantan inhabited by farmers engaged in agricultural productions primarily seaweeds as well as coconut, cassava, and assorted vegetables.

“I am very proud and happy that the project has been completed and finally handed over to the MLGU,” said Regional Project Coordination Office – BARMM Deputy Project Director Ammal Solaiman.

“Even amidst the pandemic, the project’s implementation is a testament to our community’s commitment to supporting our farmers and fisherfolks, ensuring food security for all,” Solaiman said.

To recall, the MLGU of Lugus proposed the FMR as part of its efforts to support agri-fishery farmers and the road intervention composed of concrete pavement with minor components of a pipe culvert with a concrete headwall, stone masonry, and road signs makes it easier for farmers to transport their products to markets.

The municipal Mayor of Lugus, Hadar M. Hajiri, Al-hadj, emphasized the positive impact of the FMR on boosting economic growth in their community and committed to sustaining and maintaining the road to benefit farmers in the area.

Farmers in the area expressed their gratitude for the project, saying that it would significantly reduce transportation costs and make bringing their crops to market more accessible.

“The farm-to-market road project will make a big difference for us. 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,” one of the farmers said.

“It was challenging, especially during the rainy season. Now, we can transport our crops more efficiently, which will help us earn more income,” the farmer added.

The turnover ceremony was also witnessed by Project Suppor Office Mindanao I-BUILD Component Head Engr. Ma. Fe Gabonales, Rural Infra Specialist Engr. Carl Anthony Orbe, I-PLAN Component Head Elden Karl Requilme, MAFAR-SULU Provincial Director Engr. Alfie Iribani, RPCO-BARMM I-BUILD Specialist Engr. Michael Anggol, other MAFAR-PRDP team, and officials of the municipality of Lugus. (Kasan Usop, Jr./BIO with reports MAFAR-Sulu)


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