Farmers and fisherfolks’ associations are essential institutions for the empowerment and advancement of farmers and fisherfolks. As a group, they are in better position to access agricultural inputs, establish enterprise, and even market their product more effectively to generate higher income. However, majority of our farmer associations were not able to capitalize on these advantages due to various reasons, most common of which is just weak organizational capacity.
On March and April 2022, the Provincial Agriculturist’s Office underwent a provincewide survey, data collection and profiling of identified farmers and fisherfolks associations in every municipality of the province. In cooperation with the respective Municipal Agricultural Offices, PAGO was able to profile a total of 373 associations. About 290 farmers’ associations and more than 80 fisherfolk association took part in the survey. Relevant data and information were gathered as to the respective organization’s general information, their set of officers, number of members, registrations and certifications, their nature of business, income sources, production data, market reach, assistance availed from the government, and their respective needs.
PAGO envisions to create and maintain a database of all the farmers and fisherfolks’ associations in the province and in partnership with the MAO’s, keep a regular updating of data and information of FAs. This is to assess and better understand the needs and determine the most appropriate interventions for each of these farmers and fisherfolks’ associations. The profiling is also in line with the thrust of the Department of Agriculture under its Farm and Fisheries Clustering and Consolidation (F2C2) program, where accordingly through F2C2 farmers and fisherfolks are encouraged “to adopt clustering and consolidation of their production, processing, and marketing activities as a community business enterprise”.
Additionally, the profiling is also vital for the eventual operations of the soon to be established Provincial Agriculture Center at Brgy. Merit, Victoria. Funded through the partnership of PGOM, KOICA, and GGGI, the PAC is a specialized facility that features three main services. Aggregation services that involve hauling and delivery of farm products and market linkaging, Tolling and Facility Rental Services that would cater to agri-commodity processing and value-adding, and Incubation Services that would strengthen farmer associations organizational capacity through training, mentoring and coaching. The PAC will be beneficial for farmer and fisherfolk associations as it provides them with better options and opportunities to enhance their technical and entrepreneurial skills.