Despite the stride made by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in terms of asset distribution, many Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) still live below poverty line and have to realize the economic potential of their lands. Since 1988, the majority of them, either individually or through their cooperatives have entered into various Agri-Business Venture Agreements (AVAs) with their former landowners or with third parties.
A review of the contracts in the databank of the National Agribusiness Evaluation Committee showed that most of the contracts are onerous and do not promote the financial, as well as the economic interests of the ARBs.
This prompted the Office of the Undersecretary for Legal Affairs to strengthen the organizational capacity of ARBs and its organizations in the implementation of the Agrarian Reform Communities Connectivity and Economic Support Services (ARCCESS) through the Program Beneficiaries Development (PBD) Lawyering Part II: Skills Training for Agribusiness Contract Review. This is an offshoot to the first phase of its PBD Lawyering Training Program conducted last year, which focused on setting up a legal entity for the ARBs and their organizations (ARBOs), understanding cash flow, knowledge of credit and how to access available credit facilities.
PBD Lawyering Part II is to be participated by selected DAR Legal Division Chiefs and Regional and Provincial Program Beneficiaries Division (PBD) staff.
Said skills training started this week from March 17-21, 2014 for the Mindanao group. Succeeding batches will be on May 5-9, 2014 for the Visayas group and May 19-23, 2014 for the Luzon group. The participants to this activity together with the Community Based Enterprise Organizers (CBEOs) are expected to assist the ARB enterprises capture value and private investment; strengthen their ability to manage risks; and create opportunities for their enterprises towards enabling business environment for the ARBs.
Overseeing the activity is a team from the Legal Affairs Office, Bureau of Agrarian Legal Assistance, Agrarian Reform Capacity Development Service and Support Service Office of DAR.