DA Caraga gears economic up-scaling through farm clustering

BUTUAN CITY, Mar. 10 -- The Department of Agriculture (DA)-Caraga is taking a big leap to level-up farmers and fisherfolks cooperative and associations (FCAs) in Caraga Region to attain economies of scale.
This is through the implementation of the Farmers and Fisherfolks Clustering and Consolidation (F2C2) otherwise called Bayanihan Agri-Clusters (BACs).
As a jumpstart of the implementation, massive information dissemination had been implemented for them to be able to grasp the importance of the clustering approach.
“Despite the pandemic, our F2C2 team has had conducted briefing in different municipalities and cities around the region,” Rebecca Reyes Atega, Regional Technical Director for Operations said.
A Regional Technical Working Group (RTWG) had been created for the said purpose headed by Regional Executive Director Abel James I. Monteagudo as the over-all coordinator with RTD Atega and Maria Espenido as F2C2 Regional Focal Person and Alternate Focal Person respectively.
To strengthen the associations, DA-Caraga had already conducted two batches of Training on Financial Management for Bayanihan Agri-Clusters.
“We want to capacitate our FCAs with the necessary skills to effectively manage their group especially in the financial matter, which is considered the bread and butter of the group’s existence,” Atega reiterated.
Atega said that the program is also working closely with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) to assist farmers and fisherfolks cooperative and associations, so they can have the legal identity to manage a business.
On August 5, 2020, DA Secretary William D. Dar issued Administrative Order No. 27, series of 2020 mandating DA Regional Offices to establish the F2C2 Program towards greater inclusive agri-business development in the country.
Atega explained that through BACs, DA can effectively assist FCAs to achieve and benefit from economies of scale, forge stronger linkages among agri-producers and markets, improve bargaining and market power, establish better access to credit and financing, encourage active “Big Brother – Small Brother” partnerships and joint ventures between FCAs and large corporate enterprises, and raise the overall productivity of the agriculture sector.
Regional Executive Director Abel James I. Monteagudo said that clustering is an effective way of achieving a food secure Philippines through a prosperous farmers and fisherfolks.
“Clustered areas will be prioritized by the government support and interventions such as production and mechanization support as well as technical training, so in time, they will become a key player in the economy through agribusiness, not just mere producers,” Monteagudo stressed.
As of now, about 32 BACs have been identified as pilot areas in Caraga Region and are expected to increase as more farmer associations appreciate the advantage of the F2C2 program. (Aurelius P. Arais, DA-Caraga/PIA Caraga)



Source: Philippines Information Agency (pia.gov.ph)

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