DA mentors farmer coops to become entrepreneurs

The Department of Agriculture (DA) in Calabarzon is mentoring farmers' cooperatives in the region to become better entrepreneurs. Jhoanna Santiago, DA-Calabarzon's focal person on the teaching program, told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Saturday that the Farm and Fisheries Clustering and Consolidation (F2C2) Program teaches farmers how to do business with institutional buyers of agricultural products. She said the DA concluded on Friday a four-day seminar in Tanza, Cavite, attended by four farmers' clusters: High Value Crops of Sariaya, Quezon; Masaganang Magsasaka ng Talahiban Uno at Dos in San Juan, Batangas; Luntian Multi-Purpose Cooperative and General Trias Dairy Raisers Multipurpose Cooperative in Cavite. Similar seminars will soon be conducted in other agricultural communities in the five-province region. The program aims to achieve inclusive agricultural productivity by harnessing private-sector support. Santiago said the DA continues to strengthen its partnership with the Jollibee Group Foundation (JFC) in the Agro-Entrepreneurship Clustering Approach (AECA) initiative to produce better farmer-entrepreneurs. 'AECA is a process that aims to teach farmers business strategies so they can supply larger buyers such as the Jollibee Group Foundation,' she said. It can be recalled that the DA and JFC signed a Memorandum of Agreement in July for advancing the interest and condition of small-scale farmers and fisherfolk through various agro-enterprise capacity building activities in line with the F2C2 program. AECA seeks to elevate subsistence farmers, by making them efficient entrepreneurs who are further strengthened by the capability to work in clusters. The effort enhances farmers' ability to access new markets, enabling them to earn more, Santiago said. Melchor Namuco, president of the Masaganang Magsasaka cluster of Barangay Talahiban Uno and Dos, said the seminar helped their members better understand how to deal with big businesses so individual farmers are not short-changed. Richmond Pablo, DA agribusiness promotion section chief, and Maria Ana Balmes, high-value crops development program coffee and cacao focal person, also helped conduct the seminar

Source: Philippines News Agency