Farmers association seen to turn into coops
by Jean D. Abangan
Tagum City (20 May) -- Forming farmers' associations into cooperatives is the direction that Davao del Norte Provincial Agriculture Office (PAGRO) is looking at for farmers to gain command in doing business.
PAGRO Chief Dominador Encarnacion in an interview said that going into cooperative is a way of holding farmers together for them to gain legal personality to go into business, thereby sustaining the income-raising initiatives that the government is extending them.
Formed into cooperatives, farmers can pitch for much higher prices of their produce -- a better position to take unlike the current situation which puts them at the mercy of middle-men and other enterprising individuals.
Encarnacion revealed that forming into cooperative is the direction that the provincial government hopes for vegetable farmers, mango producers and farmers of all other crops to embark into.
For vegetable farmers, Encarnacion said that the Davao del Norte Vegetable Industry Development Association (DNVIDA) will "inherit" from the provincial government the mobile packing van once members decide to convert into cooperative.
Donated last year by the Department of Agriculture, the packing van has been used to pick up volumes of vegetable produce from far-flung areas to "bagsakan" centers in the province.
With the van, vegetable farmers no longer have to spend much to bring their produce directly to trading centers in the province, and that freshness of vegetables is preserved, Encarnacion explained.
On top of other technical assistance that PAGRO will be extending, the van will be one of the major help that DNVIDA will be getting to run its operation once converted into cooperative, Encarnacion said.
Meanwhile, he also envisioned the same step to take for Samal Island Mango Growers Association (SIMAGA) which PAGRO is now giving focus on, to help growers get higher income of their venture.
Encarnacion revealed that PAGRO is working with Australian Center for International
Agriculture Research (ACIAR) and the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD) to provide mango growers in the Island Garden City of Samal the technology suited to productively grow and produce mangoes.
PAGRO is also linking SIMAGA members with the Rural Bank of Babak for financing assistance, and to make them (SIMAGA members) direct buyers of the Diamond Star and Nakashen.
Encarnacion is hoping that in the long run, SIMAGA will convert into cooperative and sustain the initiatives that the provincial government is initiating to help them produce best quality mangoes that international markets require. (PIA-XI) [top]