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WB: Mindanao dev’t a must

By Antonio L. Colina IV

Davao City – A World Bank-funded Mindanao Jobs Report said the Philippines cannot achieve sustained inclusive growth unless Mindanao is developed, recommending bolstered efforts to make the agriculture sector there more productive.

The 92-page study reported over 80 percent of Mindanao’s farmers and fishermen are “poor or near-poor” with no skills to compete in the market.

The report said severe underinvestment in infrastructure, education, and health, among others contributed to anomalous growth patterns in the province, leaving “majority of Mindanawons without good jobs and has led to the emigration of many talented people.”

Providing a comprehensive strategy to unlock the island’s potentials, the MJR suggested developing the agricultural industry there.

Except for a few export agricultural crops, it said agriculture in Mindanao is not very productive, with inadequate infrastructures limiting the growth of manufacturing, and agricultural workers who cannot land jobs often end up in the low-productivity, low skill services sector.