DAVAO CITY — The Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) said it signed partnerships with six companies for various agriculture ventures that will showcase the economic potential of the autonomous region.

Former Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) camps, which are undergoing transformation as part of the peace agreement with the government, are among the sites that will be developed as model farms and learning centers.

“This is our share in the peace building efforts being led by the government,” Antonio S. Peralta, chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP)-Southern Mindanao Business Council in an online interview.

The signing of the agreements was one of the highlights of the ECCP-organized online forum, Planting the Right Seeds: Agricultural Investment Opportunities in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) during this Pandemic, held September 30.

The six BDA partner companies and corresponding projects are: ACTI Global, Inc. for farm mechanization and equipment management; Noble Endeavors Mindanao, Inc./Ethical Harvest for a joint study and implementation of a goat milk processing facility as well as research laboratory; East West Seed International for vegetable production in tandem with coconut or cacao farming; Traxerve, Inc. for the establishment of rice demo farms and output consolidation among rice-producing communities; Earth Cube, Inc. for a waste-to-fertilizer plant in major BARMM cities; and Marine Algae Products, Inc. (MAPI) for seaweed production and processing sites in Tawi Tawi and Sulu to meet the requirements of MAPI’s markets in Australia and Europe.

“As an agricultural country in the midst of an uncertain pandemic, it is crucial that the value of locally-produced crops is understood… And while it is typical to look at this from an investment standpoint, a paramount issue would be sustaining peace in Mindanao, especially in BARMM, through building sustainable communities,” Mr. Peralta said. — Maya M. Padillo