Unity is strength.

Grouping together the small farmers and fishers on the basis of proximity in production areas, similarity of inputs, shared production activities and processes, and common final products provide an increased overall productivity of the sector, higher incomes, and better access to resources, technologies and markets. This is the ultimate goal of the Farm and Fisheries Clustering and Consolidation (F2C2) Program of the Department of Agriculture.

With this, the F2C2 Program continuously implements various activities supporting the clusters established in the Bicol Region, among them were the series of Development Planning Workshop conducted in March 2023. These planning workshops enabled the clustered associations to create a Cluster Development Plan (CDP) which is the main requirement for the delivery of major DA interventions for the clusters.

Four (4) commodities from the banner programs are being catered by F2C2; corn, high-value crops, livestock, and rice. From 2021 to 2022, 156 clusters were established, and there are 64 target clusters development plan to be consolidated this year.

As of writing, there are 59 existing corn clusters in the entire region subjected for the Development Planning Workshop. 16 corn clusters completed the said workshop. The first cluster included the Tinawagan Corn Farmers Association, Aniog Farmers Organization, Kilomaon Integrated Farmers Association, Maymatan Farmers MP Cooperative, SAPA Agricultural Cooperative, and Saripongpong Gubat (SAGLODAB) Corn Farmers Association. The second cluster was comprised of the Bombon Corn Farmers Association, Carolina Integrated Farmers Association, Golden Highlands Agriculture Cooperative, Comaguingquing Farmers Association, Lugsad Upland Farmers’ Association, and Tomagodtod Farmers’ Association; and the third cluster includes Lanipga Rice, Vegetable and Corn Integrated Farmers Association, Nabua Corn Cluster Farmers Association, Buluang Corn Growers Association, Inc., Divino Rostro Upland Farmers Association, and San Rafael (San Crisanta) Corn Farmers Agriculture Association. The abovementioned clusters met the required 75 hectares of combined land resources/areas for the corn commodity.

During the Development Planning Workshop, the participants learned the process and significance of the CDP. They formulated a masterplan for the growth and development of the cluster through its business enterprises. Further, they identified their long-term plan that addresses the clusters’ needs for marketing, improvement in productivity, operation, and organizational development, financing, and sustainability.

Other than formulating the CDP, the F2C2 program aims to forge stronger linkages among farm and fish producers to their commodity’s markets and the bigger global value chain. It also promotes the “Big Brother-Small Brother” partnerships wherein the cluster can be linked up with the established business entities that can provide relevant support and expertise in terms of production, processing, and storage technologies and equipment, transport and logistics, and better access to finance and marketing networks.

Moreover, Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) I-PLAN Planning Officer Peter Theodore D. Caro tackled the principles of value chain analysis, SWOT analysis, and strategic planning while PRDP I-REAP Component Head Patrocinio B. Collao I and Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD) Youth Farmers Challenge Program Technical Staff Jaynard S. Manlangit shared their expertise in formulating development plans.

On June 26-30, 2023, F2C2 will conduct another Development Planning Workshop for the corn clusters in Albay. (MA. EDELYN F. BONGALOS / with reports from DEBBIE M. PANTE – F2C2/Corn Program)