COTABATO CITY – In a bid to modernize and agro-industrialize the agricultural and fisheries sectors in the Bangsamoro region, Member of the Parliament Ali Sangki has proposed the establishment of the Bureau of Agricultural and Fisheries Engineering (BAFE-BARMM).
The BTA Bill No. 221, or Bureau of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Services Act of 2020, aims to strengthen and institutionalize agricultural and biosystems engineering services at the local government units to enhance regional food security and economic prosperity.
According to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, the agri-fisheries sector accounted for the largest share of the region’s total economic performance in 2018, contributing 55.6% of its 7.2% growth rate in the Gross Regional Domestic Product.
Key commodities produced in the region include cassava, palay, coconut, corn, and seaweed, all of which significantly contribute to the region’s agricultural output.
The proposed BAFE-BARMM will operate under the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Agrarian Reform, taking charge of various crucial tasks such as fisheries mechanization, farm-to-market roads, agri-fisheries infrastructure development, soil and water conservation, rural agro-industrialization, and food logistics infrastructures, among others.
The bureau will also be responsible for preparing, evaluating, and recommending engineering plans, designs, and technical specifications for agricultural, fisheries, and biosystems mechanization, irrigation, and infrastructure projects.
It will play a vital role in formulating regional plans and programs for agricultural, fisheries, and biosystems infrastructure, irrigation, mechanization, and post-harvest facilities. Close coordination with the Bureau of Agricultural and Fisheries
Engineering of the Department of Agriculture (BAFE-DA) and other concerned BARMM agencies and LGUs will ensure the successful implementation of these projects.
As part of the proposal, the agricultural and biosystems engineering groups or units within the 1st to 3rd class provincial, city, and municipal LGUs in BARMM will be strengthened, institutionalized, and transformed into Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE) Offices.
To ensure an adequate supply of competent agricultural and biosystems engineers and agri-fisheries engineering technicians and operators, the BAFE-BARMM, together with relevant agencies and professional organizations, will formulate and implement an Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Human Resource Development Master Plan.
MP Sangki assures that the proposed measure will be in line with existing policies and guidelines set forth in several key laws, including the Philippine Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Act of 2016, the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act, the Agriculture and Fisheries Mechanization Law, the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and the Local Government Code of 1991. (LTAIS-Public Information, Publication, and Media Relations Division)