Study Visit and Forum on Institutional Food Purchase in Bicol

           PAKISAMA leads a study visit and forum on Institutional Food Purchase in Bicol

November 22-23, 2015

On November 2015, PAKISAMA led an international delegation in a study visit to May-ogob in Camarines Sur, a pilot area of the Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (PAHP). The delegation was composed of farmer leaders from PAKISAMA (Philippines), Aliansi Petani Indonesia, Vietnam Farmers’ Union and FETRAF-Brazil (National Federation of Family Farming Workers of Brazil), and representatives from the Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA), Belgium-based Collectif Stratégies Alimentaires (CSA), and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)-Rome.

The PAHP is a joint project of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Agriculture (DA), and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) which allows local smallholder farmer organizations (FOs) to supply food to feeding programs of LGU day care centers. It builds on the success of the Brazilian Government’s Zero Hunger program (Fome Zero) that provides agricultural extension services linked to the nutrition needs of their feeding programs.

The May-ogob Agrarian Reform Community (MOARC) is the PAHP’s pilot partner in the Municipality of Ocampo. The aim is to raise the small farmer producers’ income while at the same time nourish their families through organically grown food from family farms. The organization’s women organic vegetable farmers supply the vegetable requirements of the day care centers in their municipality. To meet the food supply requirement, MOARC has been provided with support services by the DAR and DA such as trainings on organic vegetable production, facilities, and organic farm inputs.

During the study visit, the May-ogob women farmers shared their experiences and insights about the PAHP pilot project. They said that they were confident that the PAHP project will add to their household income and provide them other benefits. First, the day care centers are located in their communities and hence will not entail additional transport costs. Second, if they cannot sell all their vegetables to the day care center, they can easily sell to their secondary markets, such as teachers, municipal employees, and the nearby wet market. Third, they have a greater sense of well-being knowing that their organically-grown vegetable products will be fed to their children in the day care centers.

The women farmers also shared the initial problems they encountered with the menu which prescribed vegetables that they cannot produce. They were able to convince the PAHP implementers to adjust the prescribed menu to the locally available vegetables so they can continuously supply the day care centers.

This innovation proposed by the May-ogob women farmers has been incorporated in the new Feeding Guidelines prepared by the PAHP National Committee.

Following the visit to the farms of the May-ogob women, PAKISAMA organized a round table discussion with PAHP-Bicol agencies which brought together key stakeholders in the PAHP-Bicol pilot. The participants agreed that the PAHP program should be sustained and made the following proposals: a) Prepare the PAHP roadmap with an avenue for collaboration between government agencies and farmers organizations; b) Strengthen collaboration/synergy with government agencies to address needs of farmers; c) Farmers should organize and be capacitated in handling the business and management of institutional food purchase; d) Leverage support for farmers; e) Document lessons learned and best practices from the pilot testing of PAHP for policy recommendations; and f) Demand and supply must be managed by farmers, and government support is necessary.

Read full report here.

See photos here.


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