August 20, 2020
Philippines aims for economies of scale in agriculture
The Philippines has embarked on a programme that aims to consolidate and cluster farms to attain economies of scale and enable more farmers, fisherfolk and agriculture entrepreneurs to produce and earn more.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) recently issued an administrative order that sets into motion the Farm and Fisheries Clustering and Consolidation (F2C2) Programme, the Manila Bulletin reported.
The programme will limit government support to individual farmers and fishermen to force them to cluster into groups or cooperatives, according to the report.
Under the F2C2 programme, government assistance—including credit, modern production methods, farm machinery, post-harvest facilities, transport and logistics, packaging support, and information and communications technologies—will be channeled to farm and fishery clusters. In addition, the DA will provide credit financing to farm clusters.
Projects offered under F2C2, however, can only be availed of by a clustered area that is at least 100 hectares for palay, fruit trees, perennials and fiber crops; 75 hectares for corn and other grains; and 50 hectares for vegetables and high-value crops.
Feed mill within production area
Livestock producers must have a feed mill within the production area, while small and large growers of ruminants must have centrally managed grazing land and feed production systems.
Free-range chicken and other livestock raisers should have well-delineated community growing territories, while fisheries and aquaculture cluster must have community-based production zones or processing facilities or community fishpond leases.
Cluster production areas must also be either contiguous or close to one another within a municipality or congressional district.
"We will count on the strong support of farmers' groups and local government units to successfully undertake our joint F2C2 programme," Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar was quoted in the report.
He said the first major challenge confronting the programme is consolidating the country's fragmented small farm holdings.
For a start, he has directed the DA regional directors to identify at least two pilot F2C2 cluster projects.