400 MILF warriors finish rice production course

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MAGUINDANAO, Philippines – From arms to farms.

This best describe the about 400 warriors of  the Moro Islamic Liberation Front are graduated from the six-months rice production course.

 The six months study dubbed as “Upland rice-based farming technology transfer program for the Bangsamoro,”  was under the auspices of Philippine Rice Institute (PhilRice) of the Department of Agriculture as sponsored by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
The  MILF graduates hail from the farming communities of Matanog, Buldon, Barira in Maguindanao, and Balabagan, Kapatagan, Marogong in Lanao del Sur, said project director Mohajirin Ali.

“Through these trainings, we hope to help promote food security, as well as create jobs in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao,” said JICA chief representative, Susumu Ito, whose country considered Mindanao “a great economic potential” in the realm of agriculture and fishery.

 The JICA supported the program as the government and it’s international partner assured them that they be

provide with modern farming technology, equipment, and sure marketing of their produce.

PhilRice Executive Director Sailila Abdula explained the  relevance of Islamic leadership and values among trainees while engrossed in modern rice production. “It was meant to strengthen the bridge linking the essence of security, productivity, and sustainability”.
“This is a commitment of the President (Duterte) to make food not only available and affordable locally, but for farmers to be able to export their products,” said Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, here to congratulate the 362 young MILF members who completed a six-month training course jointly undertaken by DA (Department of Agriculture) and JICA (Japan International Cooperation.
Piñol asked graduates and the MILF hierarchy to organize themselves into cooperatives, or the like, as he committed to turn-over four tractors, 10 power tillers, hybrid seeds and fertilizers.
The  MILF Chair Al-Haj Murad Ebrahim thanked the Duterte government, JICA and other partners to peace and development that the key to all these yearnings is commitment and sincerity.

Apparently, tired of past promises on peace and progress, Murad asked audience not to look back, but up front, and move forward with hope and patience to reach that long-sought aspiration.

Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, one of the invited guests, summed-up positive thoughts, that all are farmers needing good seeds solely dependent on life’s principle of sowing and reaping, knowing the tree by its fruit.

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