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Seven rice farmers’ associations (from Bay, Pila, Los Baños, and Pakil, Laguna; and Lucban and Infanta, Quezon) and four cooperatives (from Kalayaan, Lumban, and Sta. Maria, Laguna; and Tayabas City, Quezon) were trained on how to achieve their full potential in improving their productivity through a three-day (April 23 – 25, 2019) capacity building of the Department of Agriculture (DA) Region IV-CALABARZON. The activity which was facilitated by the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD) was held in Lucena City, Quezon.

In his talk, Officer-In-Charge (OIC)-Assistant Regional Director for Operations and Regional Rice Program Coordinator Dennis R. Arpia guaranteed farmer-participants that the DA is continuously doing its job for them to have better access to government support and interventions; and information on proper agricultural practices and standards, and business and marketing opportunities.

Recognizing their fears with the implementation of the Rice Trade Liberalization Law, Mr. Arpia said that, “Through the leadership of Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, we are doing everything to protect you [farmers] as the law set provisions that will benefit the rice farming industry.” He also mentioned some of the DA’s plan of action in dealing with the threats of liberalization through the Philippine Rice Industry Roadmap.

“You [farmers] should think smart and like entrepreneurs. Keep in mind that changes in agricultural system come not only with opportunities but also with big challenges that can make agriculture more profitable for you…May this training help your organizations strengthen its performance, increase its benefits, and promote awareness and responsible actions,” he also pointed out.

AMAD recognizes the importance of assisting rice farmers and millers in CALABARZON through this training for them to attain their maximum capability for farming, thus interrelated topics and concepts in capacity development were covered, including business process; financial management; understanding statements of operation, financial condition, and changes in equity; and annual planning and budgeting.

Some of farmer-participants said that through this activity, they learned how to maintain and improve their organizational structures and processes to effectively work together, being equipped with the ability to respond to the changing agricultural environment. • ARC