not alone
Farm consolidation, clustering paves way to modernizing, industrializing Phl agri
by Emerson Deñado - Monday, 27 July 2020, 04:33 PM

DA Communications Group | 27 July 2020
The Department of Agriculture (DA) will vigorously pursue farm consolidation and clustering to hasten the modernization and industrialization of Philippine agriculture.

“Farm consolidation and clustering can significantly increase the productivity and competitiveness of Filipino farmers and fishers, including agripreneurs, as they will achieve economies of scale,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar.

“To take optimum advantage of the Duterte administration’s Plant, Plant, Plant program, we will strongly encourage farmers to organize themselves into cooperatives or associations (FCAs), and consolidate their farms into contiguous clusters of at least 50 to 100 hectares each,” the DA chief added.

“That way, we can optimize the provision of government interventions and assistance, thus providing more farmers, fishers, and their families efficient and quicker service to increase their productivity and incomes,” he said.

In fact, the DA chief added that the agency started prioritizing organized FCAs in the provision of farm inputs like quality seeds and fertilizers and technical assistance, ranging from production, postharvest, processing, marketing, credit, and training.

Secretary Dar said, “clustered farms attain economies of scale and a subsequently higher level of efficiency throughout the value chain — from reduced production and operations expenses, cheaper farm inputs as they could buy wholesale, more harvests and selling their produce directly to markets and institutional buyers, to realizing bigger revenues and incomes.”

Since last year, he has instructed the DA regional directors and other concerned officials to convince individual farmers to organize into FCAs, and then register with the DA and other concerned agencies like the Cooperatives Development Authority (CDA) and Department of Trade and Industry.

As a way to encourage farm consolidation and clustering, the DA’s national corn program (NCP) for instance provides clustered FCAs appropriate trainings, including mentorship on crafting their corn or cassava enterprise development plan.

They will also be capacitated to venture into processing, value-adding, and marketing, to further augment their incomes.

The DA-NCP has tapped the Villa Luna corn farmers’ multi-purpose cooperative, in Cauayan City, Isabela, as a model farm cluster, where other FCAs can learn from.

Farm consolidation and clustering is one of the eight paradigms under the “new thinking for Philippine agriculture” advocated by the DA since August 2019.

Aside from corn, farm clustering will be implemented by other DA commodity programs on rice, high-value crops, including coconut, sugarcane, banana, abaca, coffee, vegetables, fisheries, and livestock — in coordination with the DA regional field offices (RFOs), local government units and FCAs.

Secretary Dar has assigned DA undersecretary for policy and planning Rodolfo V. Vicerra, and director Milo delos Reyes to lead the implementation of the farm consolidation and clustering program.

A survey conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in 2012 showed that the country then had 5.56 million farms, with a total area of 7.2 million hectares (ha).

In terms of size, more than one-half or 57 percent of the country’s farms are 1 ha or less, at 0.5 ha and less – 39%; and 0.5 ha to 1 ha – 18%. Other farm sizes are: 1 ha to 3 ha – 32%; 3 ha to 7 ha – 9%; and 7 ha and more – 2%.

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