Italy keen on supporting Bangsamoro farm sector
MANILA, Philippines – The Italian government expressed its intention to help develop the agriculture sector of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), according to outgoing Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, July 3, Piñol said he met with Italian Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs Manlio Di Stefano to discuss the European country's interest in funding development programs for the BARMM.
These include programs for farming and fisheries, the construction of rural roads, and the dredging of the Rio Grande de Mindanao.
"We have a huge foreign investments portfolio of about $175 billion and we will be willing to invest part of this in the Philippines," the Department of Agriculture (DA) quoted Di Stefano as saying.
Di Stefano was joined by Italian Ambassador to the Philippines Giorgio Guglielmino and officials from Italian financing firms.
Prior to this, the DA said the Italian government also offered to help modernize the National Food Authority's facilities to make these more resistant to heavy rain and typhoons.
The DA said last May that it is working with the BARMM's Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Agrarian Reform to craft a 10-year agriculture master plan for the region. The master plan is expected to be completed by August.
Coincidentally, Piñol is also being eyed by President Rodrigo Duterte to take over as chairperson of the Mindanao Development Authority. The agriculture secretary, who submitted his courtesy resignation last June 27, is also the head of the regional development and security cluster for Soccsksargen. – Rappler.com
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