PRIMEX conducted an Action Planning Workshop for the Farm and Fishery Clustering and Consolidation (F2C2) Project of the Department of Agriculture (DA) last 6 December 2023 at the Richmonde Hotel in Ortigas Center, Pasig City. The workshop was held at the start of the second phase (Planning and Pre-implementation) of the Asian Development Bank (ADB)- and Japan Fund for Prosperous and Resilient Asia and the Pacific (JFPR)-funded Technical Assistance project (TA-9971 REG: Southeast Asia Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Rural Development Facility – Phase II). The project commenced on 2 August 2023 and will run for 20 months. It is being implemented in six pilot municipalities: Flora in Apayao, Sariaya in Quezon, Patnongon in Antique, Bayawan City in Negros Oriental, Mahayag in Zamboanga del Sur, and Matanao in Davao del Sur. The Action Planning Workshop was attended by representatives of the ADB Agriculture, Food, Nature, and Rural Development (AFNR) Sector Office, DA–F2C2 National Project Management Office (NPMO), and the entire PRIMEX Technical Consultant Team (TCT) and support staff.
The workshop participants with (seated, L to R): Mr. Nestor Escara, PRIMEX VP for Project Operations; Dr. Roberto Acosta, Team Leader; Ms. Elvira Ablaza, PRIMEX COO; Mr. Takeshi Ueda of ADB, Mr. Anthony Francis Malabanan of DA F2C2 NPMO, and Ms. Erika Joy Arcillas of ADB.
After welcoming the participants, Ms. Ablaza noted the importance of the workshop, which was held as one of the first in a series of activities in the second phase, Planning and Pre-implementation, of the TA. She also mentioned that the workshop was the first time for the entire TCT to meet face to face, given their location in six different parts of the country, and for the TCT to meet ADB and the DA-F2C2 NPMO in person.
In his opening message, Mr. Ueda described the visions of ADB for the TA. He said,
The TA was granted to the Government of the Philippines with the aim of strengthening farm clustering and consolidation in the country, with DA as one of its main beneficiaries. The Rice Tariffication Law has brought changes to the country’s agri-enterprise landscape tremendously and ADB, as a prime contributor to global solutions, had its eye focused on shifting the economic activities of the Philippines’ production of agricultural products to be competitive with its neighboring Asian countries through the integration of farming mechanisms and practices.
On behalf of DA, Mr. Malabanan expressed gratitude to ADB for providing the TA and to PRIMEX for the efforts of the TCT in facilitating the various farm clustering activities at the six selected pilot sites, particularly the preparation of the Cluster Development Plans (CDPs) by the concerned farmers’ cooperatives and associations (FCAs).
The workshop proper consisted of a briefing on the current status of the TA by the Team Leader, Dr. Roberto Acosta, followed by individual presentations by the Farm Development Managers on the progress of work in their respective clusters. The presentations focused on the accomplishments, activities planned, and challenges encountered by the six teams in the field. The workshop was characterized by an open exchange and sharing of experiences among the TCT members and between the TCT and ADB and DA. Both ADB and DA were pleased with the progress of work to date and encouraged the TCT to strengthen their ties with the regional and provincial F2C2 offices as well as with the concerned local government units (LGUs). Mr. Ueda expressed his strong interest in participating in future TA activities in the field, which were much appreciated by DA and PRIMEX.
At the closing session, Mr. Nestor P. Escara, PRIMEX Vice President for Project Operations, provided a concise synthesis of the workshop discussions, and Mr. Ueda and Ms. Ablaza handed out certificates of attendance to the participants. Mr. Ueda also thanked PRIMEX for the excellent organization and successful conduct of the workshop.