Study Visit and Forum on Institutional Food Purchase in Bicol

On November 22-23, 2015, PAKISAMA led an international delegation in a study visit to the municipality of 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), and representatives from Asian Farmers Association (AFA), Collectif Stratégies Alimentaires (CSA) from Belgium, and FAO-PAA (Rome).

The Departments of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Agriculture (DA) and Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) are implementing the PAHP program. PAHP is an institutional food purchase program which allows local smallholder farmers organizations (FOs) to supply food to feeding programs of day care centers under the DSWD’s Supplemental Feeding Program. Support services from the DAR and DA aim to help improve farm productivity and enhance farmers’ access to the feeding programs.

The PAHP aims to contribute to the goals of reducing poverty, improving farmers’ incomes and nourishing families. It was launched in December 2013 in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and UN- World Food Program (WFP) and with technical assistance from the Brazilian Government. The program builds on the success of the Brazilian Government’s Zero Hunger program (Fome Zero) which provides agricultural extension services linked to the nutrition needs of their feeding program.

The Zero Hunger strategy consists of institutional food purchase programs which allow farmers to sell their products to government at fair prices. Inside the Zero Hunger program are different forms of assistance for family farmers to help them get better access to those markets, such as rural credit programs, insurance schemes, and technical assistance. These services have stimulated local food production and increased local food output.

The study visit and forum in Camarines Sur facilitated the sharing of experiences of small farmer producers of May-ogob in their participation in PAHP. The “supply side” was also studied, e.g., technical extension, business management, marketing, and benefits and constraints encountered in the FOs’ engagement in the PAHP program.

The May-ogob Agrarian Reform Community (MOARC) is the PAHP’s pilot partner in the Municipality of Ocampo. Women organic vegetable farmers supply the vegetable requirements of the feeding programs of day care centers managed by the local government, with funds from the DSWD. To meet the food supply requirement, MOARC was provided with various support services by DAR and DA, e.g. training on organic vegetable production, facilities and organic farm inputs. The women farmers expressed their confidence to increase their income and gain other benefits from their participation in PAHP. 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 sell to their secondary markets, e.g., the teachers, municipal employees, and nearby local market. Third, they feel a greater sense of well-being knowing that their children in day care centers will be nourished with their organically-grown vegetable products.

However, the May-ogob women farmers also encountered several constraints. They do not traditionally grow the vegetables prescribed in the feeding program’s menu, e.g., broccoli, cauliflower, etc. Hence, they entered into a new agreement with the PAHP implementers so that the menu be adjusted to include vegetables that they grow locally. This new scheme proposed by May-ogob’s women farmers has now been incorporated in the new Feeding Guidelines prepared by the PAHP National Committee.

PAKISAMA also organized a forum that brought together key stakeholders and partner agencies in the PAHP Bicol pilot area, including agrarian reform beneficiary organizations (ARBOs) and other FOs – Golden Parauma Producers Cooperative (GPPC), Pecuaria Development Cooperative Inc (PDCI), MOARC, Magsaka–Ca, MAFA–Sipocot, KaBUGCOS, Cagmanaba Agrarian Reform Farmers Beneficiaries Associations (CARFBA), and Banasi Agrarian Reform Farmers Beneficiaries Association (BARFBA). The government agencies came from the DAR provincial office, Pasacao LGU MSWDO, Ocampo LGU Agriculturist, Office of Rep. Leni Robredo in Naga City, and DA-AMAD RO 5.

The key stakeholders in PAHP-Bicol agreed that the institutional purchase program should be continued and recommended the following to improve its implementation:

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.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *