Agrarian reform beneficiaries launched the Federation of Agrarian Reform Cooperatives in North Negros, or Farbconn, in Brgy. Caduhaan, Cadiz City, yesterday, in response to the constant calls for an accord and cooperation in global business.
The 23 ARB organizations formed themselves into a group to cushion the effect on most of their farmer-members of the open market policy and to formulate strategies in order to become competitive in the business arena.
Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer 1 Milagros Flores said the federating of small and agriculture-based cooperatives is seen as a way to prepare the farmers in the implementation of the Asean Economic Integration.
She said that while it is overwhelming to think that farmers in the agrarian sector will have to compete with the Asean countries and the world, the time to start is now and not later because they are not competitive compared to the private sector.
“There are benefits and challenges, one of the benefits is that they will be given the chance to compete and trade their products with the other countries. However, the challenge is how to make their products sustainable and competitive,” Flores said.
Flores cited advantages such as the number of manpower; Farbconn has more than a thousand members, a vast area of land to work and produce crops and other products, approximately a thousand hectares, and the abundance of resources and materials to plant and process.
Initially, the group will establish a market day for their farmers for the exposition of their produce every week. Another is the development of a training center to help the affiliated members with training and product development activities.
Because of the drop in the price of sugar, Flores is encouraging the cooperatives to diversify to other lucrative crops and products. Innovation through diversification is the key to survive in the current state of the sugar business, the major crop of most agrarian reform farmers, she said.
The Farbconn office is at the P2.4-million, 1,135 square-meter lot in Brgy. Caduhaan, Cadiz City.*
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