WV farmers embrace AECA’s Phase 2 training on business planning

Posted by: RAFIS DA6 | Posted at: August 4, 2023

The Department of Agriculture (DA) Western Visayas Farm and Fisheries Cluster and Consolidation (F2C2) Program’s Agro Enterprise Clustering Approach (AECA) has achieved a significant milestone as it enters Phase 2. The program conducted a 3-day workshop in Iloilo City on August 2-4, 2023, training 45 Farmer Cooperatives and Association representatives. These representatives hailed from various commodity clusters, including livestock, high-value crops, and corn.

The workshop, spearheaded by the DA-WV F2C2 Project Development and Marketing Specialists, employed a process-driven and participatory approach. The main objective was to enable participants to understand and appreciate creating a business plan – a crucial and strategic tool for farmer entrepreneurs.

“The ultimate goal is to create functional business groups from farmer cooperatives,” said James Daniel Gregory, Enterprise Development and Marketing Specialist, highlighting the program’s emphasis on fostering sustainable and thriving agro-enterprises. Empowering farmer cooperatives and associations with business planning skills, the DA promotes a vibrant and resilient agro-enterprise ecosystem, contributing to the region’s overall economic growth and development.

A well-crafted business plan provides entrepreneurs with a clear roadmap for success and aids in achieving short-term and long-term objectives. During the workshop, participants learned how to raise funds for their commodities, make informed decisions, identify potential weaknesses, and enhance communication with stakeholders and clients.

The Agro Enterprise Clustering Approach (AECA) is an essential tool to facilitate the learning process for organized farmers, helping them understand complex business concepts. It plays a critical role in sustaining commodity production within each cluster with its carefully designed three-phase process: Phase I: Organizing and Information Gathering for Business Plan Preparation.

This phase involves the formation of a Working Group & Basic Clusters, creating a Production Module & Cluster Supply Plan, and developing Agro-enterprise (AE) objectives. Phase II: Agro-Enterprise Planning for Collective Marketing The second phase includes the formation of Committed AE Clusters and finalizing the AE Plan. During this stage, farmer cooperatives delve into collective marketing strategies, aiming for a more significant impact and market reach. Phase III: Agro-enterprise Implementation and Improvement.

The final phase focuses on refining the business plan and ensuring its implementation. It involves creating a Product Supply Forecast, validating the AE Plan through Test Marketing, and continuously evaluating and improving it to adapt to market demands and changing circumstances.

The Phase 2 workshop saw the active participation of various farmer cooperatives representing livestock, high-value crops, and corn clusters. Among them were POPA Agriculture Cooperative, SILPRA, TQB, MATABANACO, Agraca ARC, Janiuay FFA, Batad FFA, Capiz CIA, PWARC, OBOGA, Ibon-MPC, GBMPC, M3CG, and the Local Government Units of Miag-ao and Murcia, along with the Provincial Governments of Iloilo, Antique, and Negros Occidental.###

Texts and Photos by: Maria Corazon M. Buala/DA-RAFIS 6