In a bid to enhance farmers and fisherfolk access to markets that will enable them to increase their income and improve the quality of their lives, the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Jollibee Group Foundation (JGF) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on July 17, 2023, at the DA Central Office in Quezon City.
In his message, DA Senior Undersecretary Domingo F. Panganiban highlighted the important role of agri-fisheries clustering and consolidation and the Agro-Enterprise Clustering Approach (AECA) in achieving inclusive agricultural productivity in the country.
“As you may know, clustering and consolidation is a top priority of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. Under his leadership, the Department of Agriculture is levelling up and pushing for strategies to achieve key milestones toward food sufficiency and security,” Senior Usec. Panganiban said.
He added that one key measure in attaining these goals is the mainstreaming of Farm and Fisheries Clustering and Consolidation (F2C2) program in the DA Banner Programs and Operating Units, particularly the institutionalization of the AECA Course in the Department through the Philippine Rural Development Program Scale-Up.
“We hope that through this strategy, we are contributing to the national goal of increasing the incomes of our farmers and ensuring that food is always available at the tables of every Filipino family,” he said.
As a complement to the efforts of DA, Ma. Gisela Tiongson, President, and Executive Director of JGF, affirmed their commitment in advancing the interest and condition of small scale Filipino farmers and fisherfolk through various agro-enterprise capacity building activities in line with the F2C2 program.
“Through this new partnership, we look forward to sustaining our efforts over the next three years, in co-creating and implementing an agro-enterprise training program that build on each other’s strengths and experiences, and complement the efforts of DA personnel, in helping farmer cooperatives and associations become profitable and successful,” she emphasized.
The signing signifies the renewal of collaboration between the DA and JGF in empowering farming and fishing communities to produce enough, accessible, and affordable food for Filipinos since its inception in January 2022.
AECA is one of the banner activities that was born from the partnership, which seeks to guide cooperative associations in the country in clustering and collective marketing of their agri-fishery products. By Ira Y. Cruz