July 19, 2024

Farmers or their farms that are clustered into an organization would help increase their income and their reliability among institutional partners.

Department of Agriculture-Cordillera Executive Director Atty. Jennilyn Dawayan said the agency is looking into strengthening market linkages and initiatives for crops produced in the region through the F2C2, or the Farms and Fisheries Consolidation and Clustering Program.

The program promotes agriculture clustering by focusing on small farms in line with the goal to arrest the consistent high levels of poverty in the country’s farming and fishery industry.

It seeks to advance the interest and condition of Filipino small farmers and fishers by encouraging them to adopt the strategy of clustering and consolidation of their production, processing, and marketing activities as community business enterprises, including the pooling of assets, labor, and other resources.

This would result, among others, in forging stronger linkages among farm and fish producers to their commodity’s markets and the bigger global value chain and improving their bargaining and market power.

Dawayan said DA-CAR so far has been able to support accredited farm organizations in the region initially through the Kadiwa program, which has helped link the farm groups with institutional partners.

However, the agency is challenged about farmers who are used to mono-cropping or planting of only one or similar commodity, as well as those wanting to sell their produce only at the trading post.

In instances where a link between institutional buyers and farmers was forged, Dawayan said the ability of the farmers to supply a certain commodity whole year round has become an issue with institutional partners.

She cited as example heirloom rice, where there used to be a partnership bet-ween producers from a province with a food chain but the farmers were not able to sustain the supply.

“What we want to do is talk with all the heirloom producers which were set up during the Heirloom Rice Project, as these organizations can come up with certain supply information which we can discuss with the volume of the demand,” she said.

The same is being eyed with vegetable producers, but the same question remains – whether vegetable farmers could provide a crop, cabbage for instance, for the whole year.

“So that is what we are trying to do with the F2C2, and we are starting it with the accredited farm organizations, but we are doing it slowly because there are many small farms that need to be consolidated,” she added.

For vegetable producers, even when they are consolidated, Bawayan said the challenge is dealing with the effect of the price of a commodity, which may affect farmers’ accountability with their institutional partners.

Kung mataas ang presyo, say for tomatoes, hindi lahat binebenta nila sa partner but dinadala nila sa trading post. So we are trying to balance and set up that accountability that when you engage in a contract, as long as hindi ka naman lugi, hindi man lahat ay ibigay mo sa partner, they need to (deliver), that is your commitment, that we have a certain volume (of supply) to fulfil,” she said.

DA-Cordillera is still studying the F2C2 guideline not only for vegetable but also rice farmers in the region. – Hanna C. Lacsamana