By ROCAYA SUMNDAD OTICAL YAHYA
MARAWI CITY: The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) has chosen the 4th Class Municipality of Taraka in Lanao del Sur as its Champion Town for the rural development program of Lanao del Sur.
MinDA chairman Secretary Emmanuel Pinol said in a Face Book post on Tuesday that, “As Champion Town, Taraka will showcase projects aimed at providing livelihood for people to bring down the poverty level which is currently at 66.86%.”
Taraka is located beside the 39,000-hectare Lake Lanao with the Taraka River originating from Putian flowing across the town to the lake. It serves as main source of water for multipurpose usages.
Pinol made the announcement on Monday during the orientation and learning trip of some eighty Taraka’s officials and farmer leaders to the Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Centre (MBLRC) in Kinuskusan, Bansalan to learn more about dairy goat raising and the Sloping Agriculture Land Technology.
The MBLRC which was founded by Baptist Missionary Harold Watson in the 1970s is an award-winning learning center which has influenced family farming in the Philippines and in neighboring countries.
The group went to MBLRC and will proceed to other destinations on a Lakbay Aral (Educational Tour).
Pinol said Taraka Mayor Nashida Sumagayan and her husband, Vice Mayor Amenodin Sumagayan, members of the municipal council and the farmer leaders agreed to his proposal to build a learning center in Taraka similar to the MBRLC.
The project will be part of the New Hope Learning Centre program of MinDA which it will undertake in coordination with private partners and State Universities and Colleges in Mindanao, he said.
The proposed Maranao New Hope Agricultural Learning Centre (MAHAL Center) will serve as an informal school for farmers in Lanao del Sur where they could see actual models of livelihood projects and learn how to do it in their farms, he added.
The local government of Taraka LGU has agreed to provide the area for the MAHAL Centre while MinDA, through its private partners and donor agencies will source the funding.
According to Pinol, the first projects to be introduced in the MAHAL Centre will be dairy goat raising, duck raising, egg production, backyard chicken production, Sorghum Farming, modern rice farming, Corn Farming, Cattle Fattening, Sloping Agricultural Land Technology (SALT), Solar-Powered Irrigation System technology and sustainable and environment-friendly agricultural practices.
After the visit to MBRLC, the group proceeded to the Solar-Powered irrigation System in Palma Perez, M’lang, Cotabato to see for themselves how the SPIS improved the lives of rice farmers.
On Tuesday, they will visit a feed mill processing plant in Polomolok, South Cotabato and then the cattle fattening farm of Adelaide River Farm in Glamang, Gen. Santos City.
On Wednesday, the farmer leaders and barangay chairmen will head back to Taraka but their Mayor, Vice Mayor, members of the municipal council and key officials will meet with officials of MinDA, MILG BARMM, DILG Central Office and the Development Bank of the Philippines in Davao City.
Pinol said the half-day meeting will finalize the plan of action to transform Taraka from a sleepy and poor town of 25,000 people into a beacon of hope and a shining example of rural development and poverty alleviation in Lanao del Sur. – RSP
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