DAR official cites ‘partnership’ as boosting support to farmers

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business mirrorPARTNERSHIPS between Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and various attached agencies under the Department of Agriculture (DA) maximize government support to farmers, according to a state official.
Likewise, Agrarian Reform (DAR) Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Anthony Parungao said “partnerships between the agency and the private sector provide the necessary marketing assistance that help make farming more economically viable.”

Quoting a report of the DAR’s Support Services Office, Parungao said “the agency has been working closely with various DA-attached agencies through various convergence initiatives to harmonize government programs in the agriculture sector.”

Foremost of such partnership between the DAR, the agency mandated to implement the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), and the DA promotes sugar-block farming in various parts of the country.

The DAR, in partnership with the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) through the Sugarcane Convergence Program, implemented last year what it called “Improving Productivity of Sugarcane Farms in Selected Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Organizations through Block Farming.” The program aims to increase sugar-cane production.

The project aims to improve the productivity and competitiveness of sugar-cane farms in selected Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Organizations (Arbos) through block farming.

The consolidation of small farms with 10 hectares or less into block farms and with one block farm having a total area of not less than 30 hectares have been implemented early this year in Batangas.

The same program is being eyed in Hacienda Luisita, the sugar estate formerly owned by the Cojuangco-Aquino family in Tarlac, once the distribution to the 6,212 farmer-beneficiaries is completed next year.

“The operationalization of the block farms ensures efficiency of operations, use of equipment, deployment of workers, volume purchase of inputs and financing,” the report said.

The government targets to implement the scheme in 47 sites throughout the country.

Another partnership project, the DAR-National Dairy Authority (NDA) Partnership, dubbed “Dairy Enterprise Development Project for Selected Agrarian Reform Communities,” is a joint undertaking of the DAR and the NDA.

The tie-up is geared toward mainstreaming the ARBs in the dairy industry by enabling the ARB cooperatives to become active players in the dairy value chain.

The project components include the provision of Business Development Service (BDS) provider, technology promotion and enhancement, institutional development, capability-building programs, product development, enterprise technology upgrading and provision of common service facility and machineries.

The project also aims to promote new technology on modern dairy herd build-up and production and other dairy-related areas through the provision of the necessary capacities and skills to manage effectively the individual and collective dairy farm and processing-related dairy enterprises.

Other DAR-DA partnerships are the DA-DAR-LBP Agrarian Production Credit Program (APCP), a capacity-building program tailored for new and existing ARBs who are yet to avail loans.

APCP is the vehicle through which financial and technical services shall be delivered to ARBs consisting mainly of credit provisioning and capacity building to Arbos.

Under the program, Arbos within the top 21 high LAD provinces shall be able to develop their knowledge and competencies in engaging and managing agri-enterprises, as well as upgrade their skills on financial management, thereby enhancing their credit worthiness or bankability.

On the other hand, the DAR-Agricultural Insurance Program for ARBs is a complementary program to the DAR’s credit access and agricultural production programs, which serves to improve access to credit and improve productivity of ARBs.

The provision of premium subsidy for agricultural insurance to ARBs and ARB household members aims to protect them against losses due to pest and disease infestations, natural calamities and extreme weather events brought about by climate change.

A P1-billion funded project, it was implemented last year covering rice, corn, high-value crops and livestock production.

Meanwhile, the DAR-NFA Partnership on Accelerating Procurement of Palay/Corn in Agrarian Reform Areas (ARAs) provide technical support to rice and corn ARB-farmers and their organizations through coaching and mentoring. It aims to accelerate procurement of palay and corn in ARAs.

Another partnership program, is called DAR-CDA Partnership Program for ARB Cooperative Development. A collaborative effort in adapting Capacity Development as a strategy to address knowledge, skills and capacity gaps or constraints of cooperative officers and members, the program seeks to enable ARB co-ops to improve governance in their organizations, implement financially viable social and economic projects, and to establish juridical personality of organizations by registering new ARB cooperatives with Cooperative Development Authority.

Under the DAR’s Marketing Assistance Program, the agency was able to hasten the development and establishment of enterprises in Agrarian Reform Communities (ARCs).

“This is carried out by building and sustaining links between and among farmer entrepreneurs, cooperative producers, processors, agribusiness firms, other institutional buyers and service providers,” Parungao said.

Development and commercialization of ARB products is supported by the DAR through market information assistance, product development and enhancement, resource mobilization with partners such as Department of Trade and Industry, local government units and support to participation in local and national trade fairs, the report quoted by Parungao added.

A program is the Village Level Processing Center Enhancement Project, which aims “to develop market competitive ARB products and enhance enterprise and livelihood activities at the community level in selected agrarian reform areas through assistance in product value-adding, improvement of facilities, and assistance in documentation and license application.”

Another program the report cited is the “DAR-Catholic Relief Services Partnership Project on Linking Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries to Corporate Supply Chain.”

This program uses eight steps in agro-enterprise clustering approach popularized by CRS to increase the production and income of ARBs and their household through agricultural extension, marketing assistance and capacity-building, according to the report.

Under the program, the DAR serves as fund provider for project implementing operations and also coordinates with concerned field offices from the LGUs and other supportive stakeholders. On the other hand, the CRS provides the counterpart fund as leverage for salaries and benefits, and spearheads the generation of necessary support from the LGUs and stakeholders.

Another project cited by Parungao is called “Up-Valuing ARBs’ Products.”

He said this “involves partnership with professional BDS providers with expertise on product design branding and marketing to extend technical support in enhancing the existing ARB products in the ARCs.”

According to the report, support includes design, packaging and labeling innovations for 91 products of ARBs and rural women.

The DAR also launched the Promotion of Rural Micro Entrepreneurship through Community Retail Store Operations program to contribute in developing rural women as microentrepreneurs through the provision of management and technical support. (by Jonathan L. Mayuga, 30 Dec 2013)

Source: http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/business/agri-commodities/25136-dar-official-cites-partnership-as-boosting-support-to-farmers