SOME 3,000 farmers who are members of various cooperatives of agrarian reform beneficiaries will discuss their programs and proposals to the government and interested non-government institutions during the Mindanao Farmers’ Conference at the Almendras Gym in Davao City on Juy 13, Saturday.
The conference is organized by the UNORKA-Mindanao, an organization of agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARB) cooperatives focusing on five industry clusters such as banana, coconut and oil palm, cacao and coffee, tro[pical fruits, and cereals.
The conference is assisted by the European Union and the Mindanao Development Authority, as explained by Unorka leaders Leoderic Luzenada, secretary general; Jerome Amulata, deputy secretary general and Romeo Ticon, project officer.
The conference aims to “present the Mindanao agr-agrarian framework and for peaceful transformation and development, and request for policy support from both executive and legislative sectors of the government.”
The gathering this Saturday follows a series of several commodity workshops conducted all over Mindanao, considering the needs and opinions of the Unorka stakeholders who passed resolutions after the rounds of consultation.
The Unorka leaders will ask the assistance of government leaders on such problems as agrarian lands which have not been turned over by landlords and big plantations despite the issuance of CLOAs (certificates of land ownership awards) to ARBs as early as 19 years ago.
The other serious matter that the ARBs would ask the government under the Duterte administration is the establishment and acquisition of value-adding machineries and manufacturing facilities that would finally industrialize agriculture and liberate farmers in Mindanao and elsewhere in the country from the centuries-old stranglehold of poverty.