WASHINGTON, May 26, 2023 – Around 120,000 farmers and fisherfolk in selected ancestral domains in Mindanao are set to benefit from the Mindanao Inclusive Agriculture Development Project (MIADP), approved today by the World Bank's Board of Executive Directors. The US$100 million project is designed to increase agricultural productivity, resilience, and services while also protecting the natural resources of these ancestral domains.
Although Mindanao contributes 33.4 percent of the total value of agricultural production in the Philippines, surpassed only by Luzon at 39.2 percent and followed by Visayas at 27.4 percent, a considerable amount of agricultural land in ancestral domains remains unused or under subsistence cultivation by indigenous peoples. Several barriers hinder development in ancestral domains, including inadequate road infrastructure, frequent landslides causing extended periods of isolation, and limited access to technical services, markets, finance, electricity, internet, and telephone services.
The MIADP will fund infrastructure investments to help address some of these barriers and to foster stronger connections between ancestral domains and markets. These will include the rehabilitation or restoration of roads and bridges, the installation of agricultural tramline systems, and the construction of small-scale and solar-powered irrigation systems. In addition, the project will provide potable water systems and post-harvest facilities such as storage units and trading posts.
“Mindanao is home to about 25 percent of the Philippines’ population but accounts for 35 percent of the country’s poor,” said Ndiamé Diop, World Bank Country Director for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand. “Poverty in indigenous cultural communities is even higher, with 68 percent living below the poverty line. Initiatives that aim to improve people’s living conditions, while actively involving them, are vital for strengthening inclusive growth in the country.”
The project will also support the development of agriculture and fishery enterprises in selected ancestral domains, integrating natural resource management and climate-smart agriculture (CSA) practices, as well as adopting indigenous knowledge, systems, and practices to ensure sustainability and build climate resilience.
The project further aims to facilitate enterprise development by providing technical, organizational, and management support. All initiatives will be implemented in a manner that respects local customs and aligns with the Indigenous People’s Rights Act of 1997 (Republic Act No. 8371 of 1997) – the legislation designed to protect and promote the rights of indigenous peoples and indigenous cultural communities.
Twenty-six ancestral domains will be involved, including in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). The communities included in the project are among the poorest and most vulnerable in the country. The MIADP also complements other multilateral, bilateral, and World Bank interventions such as community driven development, COVID-19 response, social protection, and nutrition projects in Mindanao that promote more inclusive growth.
“Investments in infrastructure would improve access to all-weather roads which is expected to facilitate women’s access to health care, childbirth facilities and hospitals, social services, and education,” said Mio Takada, World Bank Senior Agriculturist. “Prioritizing support to women’s groups and provision of associated skills training will expand economic opportunities for women, improving household incomes, and women’s welfare.”
The Department of Agriculture (DA) will manage and implement MIADP. Implementing partners include the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) for the ancestral domains in the five (5) regions of Mindanao, and the relevant BARMM ministries for the ancestral domains in the BARMM areas.