” A rewarding and peaceful day to all with warm greetings from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Agrarian Reform of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

First, I would like to extend my ardent greetings to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, as they celebrate their 75th founding anniversary. This is also to express our gratitude for its unrelenting support to the region in its quest for sustainable development for the Bangsamoro.

       We, at the MAFAR and the whole of the BARMM, join you as you commemorate this year’s World Food Day with the theme “Grow. Nourish. Sustain. Together. Our actions are our future.

       This theme is very opportune as we have been cooperatively moving forward for agricultural advancement to ensure that food is enough for every family especially during these days that everyone is battling with the challenges and hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

       Despite the uncertainties in this trying time, the ministry and the whole of the BARMM government, headed by Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim, Al-Hadj, are optimistic that with our strong collaboration, we can make things easier and bearable for the Bangsamoro by supporting them as they go about with their livelihoods.

       The BARMM is an agricultural region and most of the people here depend on farming as major source of income. Of its almost four million population, 61% or some 2.4 million people are poor or with insufficient income to provide for food and non-food needs based on the 2018 data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

       We have been beset by this statistic but we treat it as a great challenge to strive more and be more to empower the communities by bringing the government closer to the people as part of our advocacy for moral governance that is chiefly centered on righteousness, compassion, and social cohesion.

       In our case at the MAFAR, we encourage the farmers and fisherfolk to talk to us directly and let us know of their problems so that we can resolve them together. We always remind them that they are our partners in improving the economy of the region for the attainment of food sufficiency and security.

       Despite the pandemic, we have never stopped supporting these people, who we call heroes as they endure to produce the food we need for survival. We provide them technical assistance and farm input support and we celebrate with them as they reap the success of their toil as what usually happens during harvest festivals.

       For the welfare of the farmers, fisherfolk and the whole Bangsamoro people, we are delighted to have developed the BARMM Food Security and Nutrition Roadmap in partnership with the World Food Programme, the Bangsamoro Planning and Development Authority (BPDA) and with significant support from the FAO and other ministries of the BARMM.

Today, we have just launched the roadmap that envisions a self-reliant, food secure, and resilient Bangsamoro, in conjunction with the World Food Day.

May this milestone serve as the commencement of our stronger partnership for flourishing agriculture and fisheries geared towards the attainment of food and nutrition security in the Bangsamoro. From us here in the BARMM, a happy and meaningful World Food Day to all.