2019 CSA Project Narrative Report

In 2019 PAKISAMA’s interventions facilitated the strengthening of 18 organic rice associations / cooperatives (’coops’ or ‘agricoops’) in 16 provinces nationwide leading to a greater access to markets. It also aimed to contribute towards the establishment of synergies between agri-cooperatives and general cooperatives, and facilitate the recognition of their voice in the decision-making processes of government agencies mandated to serve rice farmers. Three` key result areas are:  1) Organic rice cooperatives have strengthened their governance and management activities; 2) Organic rice cooperatives have strengthened their services to members and increased their products quality and their access to market; and 3) A strong national federation of agricultural cooperatives has been established.

A.1   Strengthening of Governance and Management of Cooperatives

Organizational diagnosis (OD) scores of the agricoops have indicated that some were able to advance in their stage of development – 3 coops (or 17%) have obtained higher scores in 2019, 4 coops (or 22%) maintained their scores, while 2 coops (or 11%) had lower scores.  One coop has reached ‘Matured’ stage, 5 ‘Sustainable’ stage, 4 ‘Expanding’, and 3 still in ‘Developmental’ stage.  Moreover, 16 coops (or 89%) have been assisted to prepare or update their Strategic Plans, while 13 (or 72%) have been supported to prepare their annual Operation Plans.

Several  agricoops have been enabled to access resources (e.g., loans, equipment, agricultural inputs) from public programs and public/private financial institutions. 13 coops (or 72%) have sustained their registration with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), while 1 not-for-profit association has been assisted to register with CDA, bringing to 3 the total number of associations that had been transformed into agriculture cooperatives and hence better engage in an agri-business.  All 18 coops (100%) have been accredited in local government units (LGUs) or other line agencies.  By end-2019, several public and private partnerships have been facilitated which enabled the coops to access resources of at least Php114.3 million (approved, in progress), and another Php19 million in the pipeline.

Lessons learned and next steps.  Continue to conduct OD assessments (PCI and CSA Rapid) and organizational profiling, assist the transformation from not-for-profit farmers associations into agri-cooperatives, and facilitate their access to resources (trainings, financing, etc) from public and private agencies. Conduct a “Revalida” of OD results cum Strengthening Intervention Planning for each cooperative that identifies the roles of the coop and other partners, e.g., AgriCOOPh and its ecosystem of network providers.  Formulate a Capacity Strengthening (CS) Plan for each cooperative, and prepare a Tripartite Partnership Agreement among PAKISAMA, the cooperative and a local Consultant to implement the plan.

A.2   Strengthening of PAKISAMA’s Cooperative Members Database

Trainings on Membership Profiling for Volunteer-Enumerators have been conducted for 3 Mindanao-based coops (or 17%), with a total of 27 enumerators trained, 37% of them women.  Data analyses was done through SPSS, and profiles of the cooperatives’ membership have been generated, e.g., aggregate data on their households and family farms, agrarian status and farm production. Three feedbacking activities were conducted to present the data analyses to coop leaders and management who saw the relevance of data in formulating evidence-based programs and policies.  As of end-2019, the total number of individual members in PAKISAMA’s registry is 1,753 from 14 coops in 11 provinces, up from 1,279 in 11 coops as of end-2018, or an increase of 27%.

Lessons learned and next steps.  Continue to conduct Membership Profiling and establish baseline data for the remaining cooperatives/association, analyze members data through SSPS, and conduct feedbacking sessions.  Organize a Trainors’ Training on Data Analysis with the coops’ MIS/M&E units and Project staff as target participants.  Install membership profiling work in the agricoops.

A.3   Support Cooperatives in the Development of their Business Plans

Nine (9) coops have been capacitated to prepare their business plans – 2 were “Indicative” or initially prepared by the coops; 3 were “Innovated” or had undergone some improvements from PAKISAMA’s Business Development Services (BDS) Unit;  4 were “Bank-ready” or finalized with the help of a Consultant. The bank-ready business plans were presented at a pledging session organized with AgriCOOPh which resulted in, among others, a Php3.5 million loan commitment for DACO.  A similar pledging session was also conducted in Mindanao which resulted in the coop being recognized as an organic rice producer by government agencies present and better working relations between them and the coop in the region.  The drafting of a Practical Business Planning Manual for Agriculture Cooperatives has also been initiated and piloted among two coops in Luzon.

Lessons learned and next steps.  Continue to prepare bank-ready Business Plans to access financing for enterprise activities, e.g., Establishment of Learning Farms towards Agri-Tourism, Seed Banking, Farm Inputs and Supplies Trading. Strengthen or explore partnerships with development financing institutions or social investors.  Continue to organize pledging sessions with AgriCOOPh.  Publish the Practical Business Planning Manual for Agriculture Cooperatives.  Organize a Trainors Training on Practical Business Planning.  Organize a Forum of BDS Consultants.

A.4   Strengthening Cooperative Members Agricultural Practices & Facilitating their Access to Organic Inputs to Ensure Quality Supply for Coop Processing

Training and mentoring of Farmer Technicians or FTs from 3 coops (17%) have continued:  a)  Organic Rice-based IDOFS training in ISLACO;  b)  JADAM – Ultra Low Cost Farming Technology for 4 FTs from 4 coops (or 22%) and a re-echo training organized in DACO coop;  c)  On-site farm assessment and planning at PATANOM.  Site visits were also conducted by the Sustainable Agriculture unit (RSAAD) to new cooperatives Sambaland (Isabela in Luzon) and Al Rahman MPC (Mamasapano/BARRRM in Mindanao).  A Workshop cum Study Tour on Empowerment for Farmer Technicians/Extension Workers of PAKISAMA’s Member Cooperatives was organized with SupAgro Montpellier and CSA which benefited 14 FTs from 13 coops (or 72%) and reinforced their roles as extension workers. RSAAD’s sustainability mechanism processes have been gradually instituted –  PAKISAMA National Council Resolution approved to create Cooperative Sustainable Agriculture Committees (CSACs); Guides to Formation of CSACs and Commodity Clusters prepared; CSAC-building sessions conducted in 8 coops or 44%; Criteria for selection of FTs finalized, and a list of 61 FTs with 28% women updated;  47 clusters, 7 Learning sites and 7 seed banks established in 6 coops (or 33%);  Manual on Integrated Diversified Organic Farming System (IDOFS) drafted;  and RSAAD and BDS units integrated under one department.

Lessons learned and next steps.  Continue to install RSAAD sustainability mechanism.  Finalize IDOFS Manual. Develop a comprehensive training program for Farmer Technicians.  Encourage AgriCOOPh to invest in FTs.  Monitor the production of commercial and organic rice per cooperative and compare cost-benefits.  Formalize cooperation with DA-Agriculture Training Institute, e.g. on joint publication or resource materials, ATI-TESDA accreditation of FTs, etc.

A.5   Supporting Cooperatives in their Access to Finance, Collective and Consolidating Marketing Activities, and to Contracting with Private Consolidator and Public Purchase

Mentoring sessions on financial management, bookkeeping and business plans preparation have been provided by PAKISAMA’s BDS Unit to managers or marketing officers of 6 cooperatives (or 33%).  The Organic Rice Cooperatives Study Tour on “Exploring Business Models with Rice Coop Enterprise Value Chain” was successfully organized with 22 participants from 21 coops (100%), and 54% of them women. Business models along the organic rice value chain were prepared by 3 coops – Organic Fertilizer Production; Farm Machinery and Equipment Rental; Trucking and Hauling Services.  A study on Marketing Schemes for Organic Rice and Related Products was done which identified marketing options for organic farmers— institutional purchase,  supplying to supermarkets, dealing with distributors, community food center.  An SMS study on packaging materials was also done to make available to organic rice coops a list of suppliers. The BDS Unit has increasingly strengthened its service delivery to cooperatives.

Lessons learned and next steps.  Organize training and mentoring sessions for agricoop managers and marketing officers at national and regional level. Continue to organize Organic Rice Cooperatives Study Tour.  Facilitate the preparation of other business models along the organic rice value chain.  Promote and initiate marketing schemes for organic rice and related products. Continue to strengthen the capacity of the BDS Unit to provide particularly Supply and Marketing Services (SMS) to agricoops. Review Cooperatives’ Rice Sales from 2017-2019 and establish a Rice Sale Monitoring System for 2020.  For AgriCOOPh — conduct SMS study on KoopMart; operate the proposed Agusan rice coops hub.

A.6   Setting Up an Organic Rice Cooperatives Forum and National Forum of Agricultural Cooperatives

The Organic Rice Forum has been maintained as a platform for agricoop managers to share their knowledge and experiences, discuss and act on common issues and problems, and elect their representatives.  AgriCOOPh has conducted its 1st Regular General Assembly and quarterly Board meetings which were accompanied by Coop Learning Exchanges and tours of model coops to study their governance and management and business models.  AgriCOOPh has also enabled micro and small agricoops to join initially as associate members and has continued to strengthen its partnerships with its ‘ecosystem’ of service providers and new partners. It signed its first partnership agreement with a foreign cooperative federation (DGRV), and will implement a two-year USAID-GROW-Coop project starting 2020.  Several cooperatives have expressed willingness to support the Agusan RiceCoopHub; other “hub” models have also been proposed – SwineCoopHub, Carabao DairyCoopHub.

Lessons learned and next steps.  Maintain the Organic Rice Forum as a platform for info exchange. Continue to support AgriCOOPh in implementing strategic SMS interventions especially to small and micro member coops (e.g. KoopMart model). Ensure closer collaboration between AgriCOOPh and PAKISAMA in the capability-building program for organic rice cooperatives. Continue support for Coop Learning Exchanges and study tours. Initiate the operation of Agusan RiceCoopHub. Continue to strengthen AgriCOOPh’s partnerships.

A.7   Building an Enabling Environment for Cooperatives and Organic Farming

A National Organic Rice Conference has been organized which brought directly to the attention of government decision-makers the harmful effects on rice prices due to the new Rice Tariffication Law (RTL),  with farmer leaders from 18 organic rice coops (or 100%) as participants. The farmers agreed to join the National Day of Protest on November 20 with the call to “STOP RICE IMPORTATION, BUY LOCAL, GO ORGANIC! and engage in lobbying to ensure that affected rice farmers can access RCEF funds instituted in the law.  Several position papers have been prepared on the RTL, Magna Carta of Young Farmers, and SAGIP SAKA (Save Farming) law.  PAKISAMA has continued to engage with the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) and the annual Knowledge Learning Market and Policy Engagement.  Moreover, 7 project proposals (or 39%) have been prepared by organic rice coops for submission to NOAP, bringing to 8 the total number worth Php47.69M prepared to date. Key institutional reforms at the CDA which provide opportunities for agricoops have also been monitored.

Lessons learned and next steps.  Continue to organize the National Organic Rice Conference, engage the DA on the implementation of RTL and to access RCEF funds, and articulate the views of organic rice farmers and their agricoops. Submit and follow-up the approval and release of NOAP proposals.  PAKISAMA and AgriCOOPh should also coordinate more closely in lobbying key reforms at CDA, including a farmers sector representative at the Board, and passage of pending bills in Congress.

A.8   Supporting Activities / Project Management

PAKISAMA’s organizational processes and other transversal activities have been supported including Mancom, National Council and Congress meetings which contributed to the increase PAKISAMA membership. Overall, an estimated total of 1,005 rice farmers have participated directly in project activities – 32% women and 20% young farmers. This is 10% of the total 10,455 individual farmers who have benefitted indirectly from the Project – 51% are women and 11% are young farmers.  Membership of women in PAKISAMA’s membership registry has also increased from 43% in 2017 to 52% in 2019, and OD-PCI results have indicated that at least 40% women are in leadership position in the organic rice coops.  About 130 good practices, lessons learned, experiences have been documented and shared through the Project, e.g., Activity Reports, Business Plans, members profiles, etc.  The Mid-Term Project External Evaluation has also been successfully concluded.

 Lessons learned and next steps.  Continue to support transversal activities, expand project outreach and strengthen gender considerations. Implement key recommendations from the Mid-Term External Evaluation, e.g, Organizational Audit, financial management, improving M&E by designing a singular tool, Redefining indicators that are more realistic and measurable.

For more info see the Final 2019 Narrative Report here

The Report has 157 Annexes (supporting documents) that are available here

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By: default-admin
Posted: August 28, 2020