Lipa farmers listen intently to the speakers' messages
Mr. Roberto Matalog expresses his enthusiasm to start the program
Pres. Amata gives a brief explanation about the program
Hon. Sabili welcomes the guests
Pres. Amata, Hon. Sabili, and Mr. Matalog signing the contract
A Community-based Agro-enterprise Development Approach
On November 8, 2013, the National Livelihood Development Corporation signed a Memorandum of Agreement on Community-based Agro-Enterprise Development Project titled "Kumikitang Sakahan or KUSA" with City Government of Lipa and Tuy Community Multi-Purpose Cooperative (TCMPC) at Lipa City Hall. NLDC was represented by its President, Gondelina G. Amata, the City Government was represented by its Mayor, Hon. Meynardo A. Sabili, and TCMPC was represented by its General Manager and CEO Roberto Matalog. The contract signing was witnessed by City Cooperative Office's Head Mr. Ramelo Mendoza, the City Agriculturist Ms. Angelita Atienza, 4 farmers from Brgy. Latag, and 27 farmers from Brgy. Lumbang.
KUSA's main goal is to enable small farmers increase their incomes through agro-enterprise development and market linkages with the support services coming from the microfinance institutions and city government. Specifically, the partnership aims to:
- strengthen the support system of the MFI and the LGU in order for small farmers to actively carry out the series of activities under this program;
- organize farmers into small groups (also functioning as microfinance centers) for the purpose of programming farming activities, consolidating the supply of crops and pooling post-harvest facilities to enhance farmers' competitiveness in the market
- assist farmers in employing their compliance to quality requirements of institutional buyers;
- share and/or increase the knowledge of farmers from production to post-production practices that will improve productivity and reduce cost in order to increase the income of farmers.
The Community-based Enterprise Development Project (CBED) of NLDC evolved from various projects that the agency experimented on in the past. From One-Town One-Product (OTOP) project in 2003 to the Community Development Services, the NLDC tried to come up with a holistic approach of services using its accredited microfinance institutions. From the start, it was fully convinced that microentrepreneurs need to be transformed to a higher level where the end-clients - in NLDC's case the small farmers - create enterprises in the farming communities and where development activities will converge to transform them into "Kumikitang Sakahan".
Roles and Responsibilities of participating parties
NLDC is tasked to do the necessary technical, organizational, marketing and financial requirements in the whole value-chain. It shall serve as the project initiator of the Community-based Enterprise Development Project which shall transfer the small-farmers agro-enterprise approach and technology to the SWG and the concerned farmers.
TCMPC, on the other hand, will be providing support services on financing, marketing and organizational development interventions. It shall serve as the lead implementing agency of the Project and shall coordinate directly with NLDC on related matters for the entire duration of the project. It shall be in charge of implementing activities and plans to the project.
Moreover, Lipa City through the City Cooperative Office and the City Agriculture Office shall actively participate in the Project as co-implementor of the Community-based Agro-enterprise Development. Lipa City shall designate its City Agriculture Office and City Cooperative Office to assist in the overall implementation of this project.
TCMPC and Lipa City shall lead the Site Working Group (SWG) in implementing and initiating convergence of activities among participating farmers and the concerned national and local government agencies. The SWG is committed in improving the plight of small farmers in Lipa City and believes in the concept and intents of the Community-based Agro-enterprise Development Project towards increasing the farmers' productivity, market linkages and income.
Baseline data gathering using the Progress out of Poverty Index (PPI) will be conducted by NLDC in cooperation with TCMPC on the 2nd week of December. Hopefully, this activity will guide the MFIs Account and Project Officers in baselining the poverty condition of the participating farmers and serve as a learning session for the cluster officers and the TCMPC facilitators and account officers.