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Butuan, Philippines wins Bloomberg Philanthropies Global Mayors Challenge

Butuan City
Butuan is an emerging city of 372,000 people in an 81,000-hectare land area, half of which is allocated for agri-production. AgriBoost is an agri-ecosystem innovation which aims to resolve the imbalances in the system and make Butuan a thriving agriculture with food sufficiency and security.

Yearlong Competition Launched in 2021 Elevates the Most Promising Urban Innovations to Emerge from the Pandemic. Butuan is one of 15 cities awarded $1 million dollars. Butuan’s AgriBoost is an agri-ecosystem innovation that boosts farmer capacities and catalyzes market forces for a sustainable, food-secure and vibrant community. It is leveraging predictive data to bolster local farmers.

(Butuan City, Philippines) January 18, 2022 — Bloomberg Philanthropies today announced the 15 winning cities of the 2021-2022 Global Mayors Challenge, a worldwide innovation competition that supports and spreads cities’ most promising ideas. These 15 winners are being recognized for designing the boldest and most ambitious urban innovations to emerge from the global COVID-19 pandemic. The winning ideas address one or more of four current issue areas in cities including economic recovery and inclusive growth; health and wellbeing; climate and environment; and gender and equality.

Butuan City’s AgriBoost [agriboost.ph] is awarded one million dollars in addition to technical support and coaching over three years. The goal of AgriBoost is to ensure that the city’s residents have enough healthy and affordable food while farmers and suppliers receive good prices for their produce.

Butuan’s Mayor Ronnie Vicente “RCL” C. Lagnada reacts to the award: “Butuan is deeply honored, inspired and excited about this great recognition by Bloomberg Philanthropies of AgriBoost as a breakthrough innovative response to the challenges of the pandemic. We are excited about moving the project forward with the inspiring and able support of Bloomberg Philanthropies.”

“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. This looks forward to a stronger food security and self-sufficiency for the people of Butuan. AgriBoost will also jumpstart smart agriculture in the city. Onwards to building a ‘lagsik nga dakbayan’ (vibrant city) that is built on sustainable food systems!”

AgriBoost Farmers
Leveraging on predictive data, AgriBoost will help farmers receive increased income from increased production yield with their much-improved farming production practices and newly acquired skill sets in farming and financial management.

AgriBoost, when fully implemented, will have long-lasting impact on the well-being of the city residents. The 21,651 under-invested poor households stand to be the biggest winner in this innovation. They would have better access to more affordable quality vegetables. They would also have a renewed attitude towards vegetable and nutrition because of improved consumer touch points.

Likewise, the 57,320 urban household would also experience increase in their purchasing power with more affordable quality vegetables. The vendors would have greater peace of mind with the worry-free and risk-free sourcing of vegetable supply that paves the way to increased income.

The farmers would have increased income from increased production yield with their much-improved farming production practices and newly acquired skill sets in farming and financial management.

The community at large, especially the young, would have discovered and experienced new celebrated culinary applications of their local vegetables and would have recaptured their self-sufficiency culture.

AgriBoost Farmers
The goal of AgriBoost is to ensure that the city’s residents have enough healthy and affordable food while farmers and suppliers receive good prices for their produce.

“As the world works to address the profound public health and economic effects of the ongoing pandemic, cities can implement innovative ideas at a pace that national governments simply can’t match,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Bloomberg L.P. and 108th Mayor of New York City. “Our fifteen winners offer bold, achievable plans to improve health, reduce unemployment, empower women, and more. Collectively, they have the potential to improve millions of their residents’ lives—and the most successful solutions will inspire cities around the world to embrace them.”

Global Mayors Challenge

The 15 winning cities named today hail from 13 nations on six continents and collectively represent more than 30 million residents. They were selected from among 50 Champion Cities that spent the past four months rigorously testing and refining their projects. When the competition launched in January 2021, mayors from 631 cities in 99 countries submitted their boldest ideas to the competition.

The Mayors Challenge selection committee helped Bloomberg Philanthropies select the 15 winners. The committee is co-chaired by Bloomberg Philanthropies board member Mellody Hobson, Co-CEO & President, Ariel Investments, and David Miliband, President & CEO, International Rescue Committee, and includes a wide range of global experts: Sir David Adjure, OBE Founder, Adjaye Associates; Dr. Yogan Pillay, Country Director for South Africa and Senior Global Director for Universal Health Coverage, Clinton Health Access Initiative; Jagan Shah, Senior Infrastructure Adviser, Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, British High Commission, New Delhi; Linda Gibbs, Principal, Bloomberg Associates; Julia Gillard, 27th Prime Minister of Australia; Olafur Eliasson, Artist; Gael Garcia Bernal, actor and producer; Dr. Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, Professor of Economics and Director, Wellbeing Research Centre, University of Oxford; Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women; Federica Mogherini, Rector, College of Europe and Former High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy; Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, Director, Bloomberg American Health Initiative, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Jennifer Pahlka, Founder and Former Executive Director, Code for America; and Mariana Costa Checa, Co-Founder And CEO, Laboratoria.

Moving Forward

The 15 winning cities will now enter a three-year implementation period with a $1 million grant and robust technical assistance. During this time, the cities will work diligently to evolve and scale their idea into a real-life program to improve residents’ lives. Cities will also work to share their ideas with additional cities around the world to enable these tested innovations to spread.

“The Mayors Challenge always pushes mayors to take big ideas and bring them to life and was vitally important as we emerged from the worst year of the pandemic,” said James Anderson, who leads the Government Innovation program at Bloomberg Philanthropies. “Now these cities will pivot to the hard work ahead to implement these projects and collect lessons learned to help other cities adopt and spread their ideas.”

Click here for more details on the 15 winning Global Mayors Challenge ideas.

The 2021-2022 Global Mayors Challenge builds on the success of four previous Bloomberg Philanthropies Challenges in the U.S. (2013 and 2018), Europe (2014), and Latin America and the Caribbean (2016). Thirty-eight ideas have won the Mayors Challenge since its launch in 2013 and often yield such powerful results that other cities replicate them. This includes Providence Talks (2013, Providence, Rhode Island, USA), a project that aims to increase the number of words children from low-income families hear each day in order to support healthy brain development and prepare them for school, that is currently being implemented in five additional U.S. cities; Biochar (2014, Stockholm, Sweden), a project to convert plant waste into biochar to encourage plant growth, which will be replicated in 16 additional European cities; and Visor Urbano (2016, Guadalajara, Mexico), a program that decreases corruption by creating transparency in the permitting process for new businesses and buildings, that will be replicated by 61 additional cities in Latin America.

For more information and updates, visit agriboost.ph and follow Butuan – Bloomberg Champion City on Facebook.

Ronnie Vicente C. Lagnada
AgriBoost is just one of the initiatives which contribute to Mayor Ronnie Vicente C. Lagnada’s overall vision for Butuan to emerge as a vibrant and sustainable city centered on its people. “AgriBoost will enable a more secure livelihood for the disadvantaged farmers and other value chain players by im-proving the system of backward and forward linkages of resource and market accessibility of our agri-sector. AgriBoost will also jumpstart smart agriculture in the city. Onwards to building a ‘lagsik nga dakbayan’ (vibrant city) that is built on sustainable food systems!”
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