by JOSHUA NAYLES, CDS II and MAY CELESTINE S. NERY, CDS II
The Cooperative Development Authority as one of the agencies in-charge in implementing the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Program (CFIDP) is continuously fulfilling its commitment to strengthen the Coconut Farmers Cooperatives in the Bicol Region.
On July 13-14, 2023, four simultaneous trainings were conducted in the Provinces of Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur. Cooperative representatives from the provinces of Sorsogon, Albay and Camarines Sur gathered at Regent Hotel, Naga City to attend the training on Basic Accounting for Non-Accountants (BANA) and Financial Management (FM). While cooperative representatives in Camarines Norte were housed in Daet, Camarines Norte at Joe’s Grill Hotel and Restaurant (for BANA participants) and Del Barrio Eco Farm (for FM participants). These trainings were attended by a total of 96 officers, personnel and members of 25 cooperatives.
These aims to strengthen the capability of cooperatives as business enterprises through proper recording, bookkeeping and preparation of Financial Statement in accordance with the accounting standard for Cooperatives. Moreover, it will help them to efficiently manage the cooperative’s finances by learning the different financial analysis tools and formulation of financial policies which can be a great help in making financial decisions.
On July 20, 2023, a skills training entitled Training on Coconut Charcoal Briquettes Production was conducted in Bicol Cooperative Resource Center, Pili, Camarines Sur. A total of 31 cooperative representatives from different provinces attended the training which aims to give knowledge about the processing of coconut shell briquettes. Through this training, the coconut farmers’ cooperatives can have an additional source of income out of the processed coconut shells which are often being sold as raw material at a very low price. The resource speaker was Mr. Edgar Tabornal, Chairperson of La Purisima Pakili Agriculture Cooperative which is one of the few producers of coconut briquettes in the Bicol Region.
Another capacity-building activity entitled Training on Value Chain Development was conducted on July 21, 2023 at Villa Rosita Hotel, Naga City. It was attended by 40 participants from different PCA Accredited Coconut farmers’ cooperatives coming all the way from the province of Albay, Camarines Sur, and Camarines Norte. The said training was facilitated by Engr. John Jeric Batanes, Planning Officer of Philippine Rural Development Project, Department of Agriculture (DA – PRDP). This aims to capacitate the coconut-based cooperatives to make use of the science-based value chain approach in coming up with different by-products of the coconut. Series of hands-on workshops was done tackling the different stages of value chain development such as commodity product forms prioritization, value chain mapping, relative financial position, and competitiveness vision.
During the activity, the attending participants were able to visualize their operations five years from the present and prioritize the most viable product form of coconut considering different parameters such as ease of doing business, market potential, and impact on the poor. This training will increase business efficiency so that the operations of the cooperatives can deliver the most value for the least possible cost.
On July 27-28, 2023 the trainings entitled Fundamentals of Cooperatives, Cooperative Governance and Management and Rules and Policy Formulation was simultaneously conducted at Ragay, Camarines Sur which was attended by three Micro Cooperatives’ officers and members from the Municipalities of Ragay and Del Gallego. This training aims to ensure the readiness of these cooperatives as future beneficiaries of projects and programs under the CFIDP implementation.
The series of training conducted for the month of July was focused on further strengthening the operations of the coconut-based cooperatives by educating them to proper financial management as well as introducing to them the infinite business opportunities the coconut industry can offer. With this, the CDA will continue to do its commitment to assist our coconut farmers cooperatives to become the significant key players of the coconut industry.
To further strengthen the cooperative movement among coconut farmers, the month of August was dedicated for the conduct of Pre-registration Seminars (PRS) for prospective cooperatives and visitation/monitoring for the existing CDA’s CFIDP beneficiaries.
On August 3, 2023, a PRS and an Orientation was simultaneously conducted in the Municipality of Malilipot Albay. The orientation among coconut farmer leaders was facilitated by Engr. Zaldy G. Bemejo in coordination with the LGU-Malilipot Albay, while the PRS was conducted by CDA Albay Contact Office in coordination with Philippine Coconut Authority and assistance from Albay Provincial Cooperative and Manpower Development Office (APCEMDO) which was attended by at least three groups of coconut farmers in the municipality. Another PRS was conducted the next day at Albay Provincial Cooperative Building for different coconut farmers in Pio Duran, Albay.
On August 9, 2023, PRS was again conducted for several groups of coconut farmers in the municipality of Bato, Camarines Sur. Said activity was initiated by the LGU-Bato and PCA-Camarines Sur with more than fifty attendees.
In the Province of Masbate, a Financial Management Training was conducted on August 23-24, 2023 at Bam’s Hotel and Catering Services, Masbate City. This was attended by different PCA accredited coconut farmers cooperatives.
From August 11-31, 2023 the Cooperative Project Development and Assistance Section (CPDAS) conducted visitation among the CFIDP beneficiaries. This aims to validate the liquidation documents of the Financial Assistance granted to them during the CDA’s CFIDP Year 1 implementation. The status of the implementation of their proposed projects was also monitored and assessed its impact to the cooperative members and to the cooperative as a whole. Each cooperative gives positive feedback and testimonies on how the CFIDP Financial Assistance helped in the improvement of their operations.