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Farmers attend consultation on agri-business contracts

news reg 1 pix 1 nov. 16 2017GENERAL SANTOS CITY (Nov. 16, 2017)—The Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) Secretariat led a two-day consultation, feedbacking and workshop with agrarian reform beneficiaries’ organizations (ARBOs) involved in agri-business venture agreements (AVA) to guide them in making sound decisions concerning their AVA with their investors.

Undersecretary David Erro said farmers get abused for not understanding what is contained in their AVAs. He said farmers get involved in onerous contracts because they were not properly guided by the laws and processes in negotiating their AVAs.

“Their lack of understanding of the AVA [laws and regulations] always put them in an unfavorable and disadvantageous position,” explains Erro.

“We want the farmers to understand the provisions contained in their contracts by orienting them to the laws and guidelines of AVAs. After hearing their issues and concerns, this consultation would empower them and their cooperatives with the processes and guide them on what options to take in negotiating for their contracts,” Erro said.

The consultation, feedbacking and workshop were conducted after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, who serves as the chairperson of PARC, directed that all AVA contracts involving tenants and landholders must pass through DAR for evaluation and determine if the AVAs are in violation of the 1987 Constitution as well as of agrarian reform laws, rules and regulations.

Acting on that directive, the PARC Secretariat earlier this year conducted an ARB’s forum on the implementation of AVAs. Agrarian cooperatives were requested to submit their AVA contracts for review and evaluation by the DAR.

PARC Secretariat Director James Arsenio Ponce said after three batches of consultation, feedbacking and workshop, 46 AVA contracts were submitted and evaluated.

“This consultation, feedbacking and workshop is the third activity we handled with ARBOs and agrarian reform beneficiaries after the President made the directive. We presented to them the result of the evaluation of their AVAs submitted in the ARB’s forum. And now after lengthily discussing problems and suggesting possible solutions, they are now armed with enough knowledge to make sound decisions in their AVAs,” Ponce said.

Photo:  DAR Undersecretary David Erro (extreme right) gives recommendations to farmers on how to go about the challeneges they face in their AVAs.

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