COCONUT WEEK. Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform Minister Mohammad S. Yacob (left) and Philippine Coconut Authority XIV BARMM regional manager Marina B. Wahab hold a wooden box that marks the opening of the regional celebration of this year’s National Coconut Week at the BARMM center in Cotabato City on Tuesday (Aug. 25, 2020). This year’s theme underscores the importance of unified goals in ensuring abundant harvest and sustainable income for coconut growers and entrepreneurs in the region, officials said. (Photo courtesy of BPI-BARMM)

COTABATO CITY – The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) on Tuesday kicked off the three-day regional commemoration of this year's National Coconut Week at the BARMM center here.

The Ministry of Trade, Investment and Tourism (MTIT), Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR), and the Department of Agriculture (DA) - Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA XIV-BARMM) are spearheading the celebration, which will run from August 25 to 27.

A series of activities, forums, and business lectures dubbed "Synergy on Regional Coconut Days: Coco Bazaar+ MAFARlengke + Regional Coconut Industry Stakeholders’ Forum + Business-to-Business Matching and Business Counseling" will be held during the event, which carries the theme "Masaganang Niyugan Tungo sa Kaginhawaan".

In a message, BARMM Chief Minister Ahod "Murad" Ebrahim pointed out that in a region like the BARMM, which is heavily reliant on agriculture, a strong coconut industry could translate to economic opportunities for everyone and even outside its core territory.

Ebrahim said the work that DA-PCA brings to the ground has been fundamental in the growth of the regional economy.

“(The) PCA brought the coconut hub projects, the exportation of coconut products, and its upcoming tie-ups with MAFAR and MTIT,” he said.

MAFAR-BARMM Minister Mohammad Yacob said this year’s theme brings the unified goals of ensuring abundant harvest and sustainable income for the growers and entrepreneurs in the region.

“This activity is one way to raise the morale of coconut growers by providing them a venue and chance to prove technically and to display their products with a possible connection to the market,” Yacob said.

Meanwhile, PCA-XIV BARMM regional manager Marina Wahab noted that coconut farmers in the region consist of roughly more than one-fourth of the BARMM population.

“Let us patronize our local products and improve the quality of lives of the Bangsamoro people,” Wahab said.

In the past, she said, the BARMM had no coconut processing centers and that most of its local products were transported to other regions.

“But now, we (the BARMM region) have two integrated coconut processing centers, which are the Iranun Corridor Coconut Hub Group in Parang, Maguindanao and the Bangsamoro Coconut Hub in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao.

MTIT Minister Abuamri Taddik cited the importance of collaboration to improve the region’s agriculture industry.

Simultaneous activities will take place in the three-day event, such as the PCA-“Coco-Kwentuhan”-coconut webinar, forum, business counseling, food sales, and exhibits.

Present during the opening event were the Maguindanao Coconut Industry clusters, members of the Sustained Advocacy for Localization and Inclusive Governance program, the academe, exhibitors, traders, local government units, and "cocopreneurs" or coconut farmers. (PNA)