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Community / Land projects / Building Agri-Based Cooperative Enterprises in the Philippines

Building Agri-Based Cooperative Enterprises in the Philippines

€0

03/15 - 03/18

Completed

This project is part of

General

DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT Goal: A target number of farmers and fishers households have increased yields and income as direct result of participating in cluster, base, and federation strengthening, sustainable agriculture, product and market development, agri-financing, governance, and agri-business enterprise model building activities of PAKISAMA. Expected Outcome: At the end of 26 months starting November 2011, • at least 80% of the target 3,100 farmers/fishers (2,432 from 142 PFF Project-formed clusters plus 668 from 40 new clusters formed) should have increased income by 35% from increased production and market sales; • at least 80% of target 182 clusters, 12 base associations/cooperatives, are providing production/ marketing/ lobbying services to at least 3,100 farmers/fishers; • 48 base associations/cooperatives in the 12 PFF provinces and 49 member provincial and municipal federations in 42 provinces have been diagnosed and intervention plans have been formulated regarding their engagement in agri-business enterprises; • five scaled-up PAKISAMA agri-business enterprises are operating and managed by a separate business unit of PAKISAMA; • PAKISAMA service to members has been rated by the project participants very good at the end of the project given effective and efficient project management by more competent and committed project staff, consultants, volunteers, leaders; functional M and E and financial management systems; effective networking and policy advocacy work Note: For the complete listing of activities, outputs and outcome including their indicators, please see Annex 1: Logical Framework of the Project. PAKISAMA (Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka/National Peasant Confederation and Movement of Farmers) is a national confederation of rural organizations dedicated to the empowerment of small Filipino farmers, fisher folks, rural women, youth, and indigenous peoples. It envisions rural societies where small farmers and fisher folks have control over their land and water resources, have access to basic agricultural inputs such as seeds and appropriate technologies to maximize their farm yield and to engage effectively the market to increase household income, and the capacity to influence public policy. Thus, since its establishment in 1986, PAKISAMA provided its member-organizations with relevant information, broader platform, and political and moral suasion in advancing its various campaigns at the national, regional, even at international levels, especially on land rights issues. Several years back, PAKISAMA started to further strengthen its capacity in building social enterprises. The support of Agriterra to PAKISAMA came in 2007 at the most crucial time when PAKISAMA needed to reconsolidate itself and regain its organizational posture after successfully resolving a serious organizational crisis that practically almost paralyzed the operation of the federation for several years. At that time, the project supported by Agriterra focused on membership profiling, putting conclusion to some organizational loose ends such as the several years of backlog in financial audit; and a package of support for general operations and networking activities. Another project with Agriterra in 2008-2009, provided a comprehensive set of interventions that allowed PAKISAMA to consolidate and expand its reach from 24 to 42 provinces. Membership grew from 28 to 49 member-organizations, or from 20,000 to 66,396 individual farmer-members. Many of the new members are functional cooperatives or federation of cooperatives and associations with full time staff and existing economic activities compared to older members, which were mostly unstaffed. PAKISAMA emerged united and reconstructed itself to become one of the most vibrant national farmers’ federations in the country today. PAKISAMA took leadership role in mobilizing farmers and generated public support towards the eventual passage of a new law extending and reforming the Agrarian reform program. A national Congress was held which elected a new set of leaders. The National and Executive Councils, Committees, and regular staff meetings were conducted. Implementing the Philippine Farmers for Food Project, from January 2010 to date, PAKISAMA had organized 151 commodity clusters in 12 provinces involving 2,432 farmers, of which about 40% are women. The clusters are engaged in the production and subsequent marketing of 9 primary commodities with almost half of the clusters tilling rice. Other commodities include corn, cassava, coconut, vegetables and sugarcane. Gender mainstreaming and empowering young farmers are continuous concerns in the design and implementation of project activities. The project was able to implement a total of 116 training courses covering both technical and business topics. Technical training courses included sustainable agriculture, bio-organic fertilizer production, management practices on vermiculture, breeding, harvesting and proper storage of rice seeds, rice trading, swine production, farm planning, coconut and organic vegetables cropping system; while business training courses included business planning, costing and marketing among others. There were 35 exchange visits organized. Thirteen (13) training of trainers (TOTs) were also conducted which were attended by about 247 farmer technicians. There were about 78 input supply centers set up. In 9 provinces, PAKISAMA prepared 16 business plans and facilitated the development of markets for 10 product lines. It organized four regional and provincial commodity associations and built partnerships and networks with key social enterprise institutions. Some of these business plans are being implemented; while others are being finalized for fund sourcing and implementation next year. Furthermore, a number of PAKISAMA affiliates had already accessed funds from various sources. PAKISAMA was the first to avail of the Agri-Investment Fund, with a loan of Ph 1.7 million pesos approved last October 15, 2010 for the Bicol Organic Rice Trading business which was fully paid in July 2011. Another loan was approved last September 2011 in the amount of Ph 950,000 for the implementation of the “Calamansi” and Organic Rice Marketing in Oriental Mindoro, and another Organic Rice Business in Bukidnon, a province in Mindanao. In terms of policy advocacy, PAKISAMA and its affiliates sit in various local and national bodies and engage various line agencies of government in policy dialogue. On September 2010, the President of PAKISAMA, Mr. Crispino Aguelo, was appointed by the President of the Philippines to be a member of the Board of Trustees of the Land Bank of the Philippines, the government bank tasked to provide credit services to the agricultural sector especially the small farmers and fishers. PAKISAMA is also represented in the National Organic Agriculture Board (NOAB), which is the national policy-making body on Organic Agriculture under the Department of Agriculture. It continues to sit in the rice and cereal and Land Use Committees of the National Agriculture and Fisheries Council. The project generated very positive results. Some farmers who are members of local commodity clusters have demonstrated improved capacities in sustainable and diversified farm production. They found that sustainable agriculture is a viable option to increase household incomes. While many of the project participants were just starting to understand how the market works and how to better package and sell their products, some had already started to realize higher income gained from reduced input cost for using organic fertilizers and pesticides. Others have examined their farm produce in relation to existing markets; while some have engaged actively in the value chain market development. Given the positive evaluation of the project from the farmer-beneficiaries and the staff involved and the positive policy environment under the Aquino Administration, the momentum set by the Philippine Farmers for Food project needs to be sustained and its possible mainstreaming and replication in other provinces be explored. This project is an attempt to continue and intensify the operation in the twelve provinces covered by PAKISAMA under the PFF project focusing on building the capacity of PAKISAMA to undertake agribusiness ventures by prototyping selected commodities. It will spin-off a two-tier PAKISAMA federation of agricultural cooperatives while enhancing PAKISAMA’s capacity to serve the existing 49 member federations in 42 provinces and a growing number of potential member-organizations in other provinces. Goal: A target number of farmers and fishers households have increased yields and income as direct result of participating in cluster, base, and federation strengthening, sustainable agriculture, product and market development, agri-financing, governance, and agri-business enterprise model building activities of PAKISAMA.