By BITOON A RANAO
November 4, 2019
|Undersecretary Virginia Orogo hands a diploma to one of the field facilitator graduates. Assisting her are Director Susana Leones and Assistant Director Elena Cabaňes of the Bureau of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries’ Development
QUEZON CITY: More than 100 field facilitators from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and local government units (LGU) have recently completed a six-month agro-enterprise course.
The training, conducted under the Linking Smallholder Farmers to Market with Microfinance project (LinksFarMM) of the DAR, equipped field facilitators with skills and knowledge that they can share with farmers.
DAR Undersecretary Virginia Orogo said the course, a combination of lectures, structures-learning exercises, and workshops, equipped attendees to guide farmers in the agro-enterprise development process.
“We recognize and celebrate the hard work and efforts of our agro-enterprise facilitators, who are our partners in reaching the goal of our program to improve the livelihood of small farmers and agrarian reform beneficiaries by helping them engage in businesses, establish and engage with buyers and become self-reliant,” Orogo said.
LinkSFarMM is a partnership project that links agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARB) to better market connections, integrates them in the supply chain, and utilizes steps in agro-enterprise clustering approach to increase the production and income of farmers and their household through agricultural extension, marketing assistance, and capacity building.
Director Susana Leones of the Bureau of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries’ Development said that agro-enterprise development has opened the doors for many.
“This approach to agricultural development does not intend to replace traditional ones but, instead, it requires us to adopt a different approach about agriculture, one that enables farmers to actively engage the market,” Leones said.
She adds that the work to assist farmers in engaging the market is not as simple as helping them find buyers or transport their products.
Farmers and ARBs are faced with various constraints. Some habits that they have practiced throughout their farming lives have hampered their progress and helped perpetuate their economic marginalization. These are not easily dispensed.
“That’s why we trained these facilitators to help in overcoming these challenges as they assume the role of guides in ensuring that farmers participate in group activities such as meetings, trainings, orientation. They will be sharing their skills and knowledge to support their fellow farmers and taking responsibility in their agro-enterprise efforts,” Leones said.
The field facilitators who graduated came from agrarian reform areas in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The ceremony was held October 23, 2019 in Cubao, Quezon City. (PR)