Alcala cobbles partnership for sustainable farming

  • 24 November 2015, Tuesday

Source: InterAksyon
22 Nov 2015

MANILA - Department of Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala has cobbled a multi-sectoral alliance that seeks to promote sustainable agriculture through "efficient crop value chains" nationwide.

In the course of crafting such an alliance, Alcala convened the general meeting of the Philippine Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture (PPSA) at the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) of the Department of Agriculture (DA) on November 10.

Alcala also asked Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (Searca) Director Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit Jr. and leaders of the Grow Asia program to flesh out the mechanics for improved crop value chains.

Grow Asia is a multi-stakeholder partnership platform that supports national and regional agriculture development priorities of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) comprising Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Dr. Bessie Burgos, program head of Searca's Research and Development Department (RDD), presented an overview of the academe's involvement in inclusive agricultural growth programs before a meeting convened by the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) a week before.

The presentation contributed to the identification of potential partners in promoting academic programs aligned with inclusive growth, like entrepreneurship and inclusive agribusiness, through the enhancement of the curriculum and facilities, learning resources development, training courses and research and development among state and university colleges (SUCs),

Alcala also sought firm commitments from all participants to deliver on the short-term targets as well as prepare for the long-term goal of improving the incomes and economic status of smallholder farmers.

Alcala formally launched PPSA in April 2015 to establish multi-stakeholder partnerships with business, civil society, farmers, and others focused on developing inclusive and sustainable crop value chains.

PPSA's aim is to increase smallholder farmer productivity, profitability and environmental sustainability by enabling access to knowledge, information, technology, finance and markets.

Five priority areas – cassava, coconut, coffee, corn and fisheries – were identified based on the priorities of the government and the interest of corporate players.

In addition, the meeting tackled other issues like agri-finance and mobile technology, farmer capacity building and logistics.

Organized by Grow Asia in partnership with DA, the meeting brought together the various stakeholders to develop working groups on the five priority crops and issues.

Carmen Nyhria G. Rogel, program specialist at Searca's Research and Development Department, participated in the working group discussion on farmer capacity building while Ms. Zeynna Balangue, Research Assistant of the SEARCA-implemented project
Linking Farmers to the Market: Towards Transforming Subsistence Farms to Commercial Farms, joined the working group on coconut.

Dr. Nerlita M. Manalili, Searca consultant in the Grow Asia-funded scoping study on Inclusive Agribusiness in Southeast Asia, was part of the working group discussion on farmers' access to finance and presented the group's output.