Minister Mohammad S. Yacob signed yesterday a Grant Agreement for the implementation of a project with emphasis on education and construction of Farm to Market Roads (FMRs) that will be financed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The project will be benefiting strategic areas in Marawi City, Basilan, Maguindanao, and the 63 barangays in North Cotabato under the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

Mr. Takeshi Saheki, Senior Deputy Director of JICA Headquarters, who also affixed his signature in the document,personally conferred with MinisterYacob on the details of the project and facilitated the actual signing. Director Saheki said JICA shall be conducting a detailed project design survey in August or September, this year.

Minister Yacob said, the day became more interesting as he signed a document that will be of essence in further improving the lives of the target beneficiaries especially the farmers. He also said that upon assessing the real situations of the farmers, they have known that they are really needing sustainable energy source and cold storage facilities to preserve their agricultural produce especially vegetables to ensure better market and profit. Also, this is one way of helping the farmers attain better value chain management according to the MAFAR leader.

Meanwhile, Ms. Yukiko Sauo, Project Formulation Advisor of JICA Philippine Office, said they are also looking into how the agribusiness sector in the region can be strengthened as JICA is supporting the partnership endeavors among the farmers and private investors.

In the coming days, the team shall be working on the technical criteria and recommendations for the envisioned project that will actually start March next year.