Butuan's Lagnada among Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Global Mayors Challenge winners

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 19) — A local chief executive from Mindanao is among the winners of a global competition recognizing innovative ideas from leaders addressing their cities’ most difficult challenges.

Butuan City Mayor Ronnie Vicente Lagnada is among the fifteen winners of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ 2021 Global Mayors Challenge — the only Filipino to make it to the list.

“These 15 winners are being recognized for designing the boldest and most ambitious urban innovations to emerge from the global COVID-19 pandemic,” said Bloomberg Philanthropies. The victorious ideas address issues like economic recovery and inclusive growth; health and wellbeing; climate and environment; and gender and equality, it added.

The philanthropic organization recognized the city’s AgriBoost, which Lagnada’s government launched in response to high rates of hunger and food insecurity partially due to local food production challenges.

The project gives farmers predictive data to help them make better decisions on planting crops, fixes some commodity prices to lessen risk on vegetables and high-demand foods, and engages consumers, along with business organizations, for added support.

“AgriBoost will enable a more secure livelihood for the disadvantaged farmers and other value chain players by improving the system of backward and forward linkages of resource and market accessibility of our agri sector,” said the Butuan local chief executive.

Speaking to CNN Philippines, city agriculturist Engr. Pierre Anthony said two apps will be developed through the program, namely AgriMart for demand and price predictions, and AgriBloom for contract growing of vegetables.

Each winning city will receive $1 million on top of technical support and coaching over three years to help execute their ideas.

Joven said 60% of the financial support will be for the implementation of greenhouse technologies, 20% for project management, and 20% for capacity building of market channels and farmers.

Vice President Leni Robredo congratulated Lagnada and Butuan City for their “big” victory.

“Your AgriBoost initiative is an important step towards our shared goal to strengthen local food production and empower our farmers. Mabuhay!” said Robredo on Twitter.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar likewise praised AgriBoost, citing its role in addressing concerns over Butuan City’s insufficient agricultural produce supply along with disadvantaged farmers.

“Your AgriBoost Butuan is an agribusiness innovation that boosts farmer capacities and catalyzes market forces for a sustainable, food-secure and vibrant community. For that, we look forward to a food-secure Butuan and Caraga region for the many years to come,” said Dar in his official Facebook page.

The latest Global Mayors Challenge winners come from 13 different nations and represent over 30 million residents.

A total of 631 cities joined the competition, according to Bloomberg Philanthropies. Of this number, 149 hailed from the Asia-Pacific region.