A major success factor in any organization is the kind of leadership that is steering the organization. In the case of LASOVEGA, Ms. Helen Daguplo is the main driving force. Leading by example, she fulfills the organization’s dream of expanding the group’s resources and horizon. Initially, LASOVEGA thought that the agriculture, forestry and fisheries (AFF) enterprise clustering approach training led by the
National Convergence Initiative for Sustainable Rural Development (NCI-SRD) in 2019 would be like any other training they had attended. But the said training became a vehicle for LASOVEGA to new heights even during a pandemic.
The knowledge gained in the AFF enterprise clustering approach included partnership building, product selection to be promoted, market study chain, cluster commitment setting, AFF enterprise plan and mobilization, product supply organizing, and test marketing. The farmers’ organizations were monitored throughout the implementation phase. This was done with the coordination and assistance of the Regional Convergence Initiative for Sustainable Rural Development Technical Working Group (RCI-SRD TWG Central Visayas) and the Carood Watershed Council.
A big factor in LASOVEGA’s success is attributed to the officers’ commitments and passion. Even with the challenges of the pandemic, the group pursued their dream to make their enterprise sustainable. The DA accreditation of LASOVEGA boosted its image as a good-standing farmers’ association.
For many years, LASOVEGA had been longing for support from the government. The support poured in after the AFF enterprise training. The DA-RFO Central Visayas granted small equipment such as shredder, multi-cultivator, water pump, knapsack sprayer, and crates in 2020. The association expressed their gratitude for the small grant as it greatly helped them in facilitating the preparation of organic concoctions. The crates were useful in handling their products by reducing postharvest losses.
LASOVEGA’s production was considered small scale from 2010 up to 2018. But after the AFF enterprise clustering training, the organization has set its goal to go commercial scale by expanding its production area from five (5) hectares in 2010 to 17.5 hectares in 2021. LASOVEGA aims to be one of the learning sites of the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) in 2022. It is the desire of the group to be able to share the applicable agricultural technologies and viable farm strategies with other farmer organizations that are newly organized. By 2024, the group aims to upscale into a farm school, which needs more investments. According to Daguplo, it is indeed an ambitious plan. However, it is needed because dreams are the driving force in any organization.
The market has always been a challenge for farmers in the time of the pandemic, but even that, was hurdled by the organization. They joined the KADIWA program of the DA in 2020, where they regularly sold their products and delivered their products to the neighboring barangays. The steady market at the height of the pandemic motivated them to produce even with the challenges of the time. Resolved to pursue their vision, the organization rented a space where the members could meet regularly.
In 2021, the LASOVEGA is a recipient of P150,000 seed capital to be used for purchasing farm seeds and fertilizers. The RCI TWG chaired by Regional Executive Director (RED) Atty. Salvador Diputado saw to it that the participants of the AFF enterprise training would-be beneficiaries of DA grants. The proposed future projects of the organization are a delivery vehicle and a small farm reservoir.
DA Central Visayas RED Salvador Diputado hands over the small farm equipment and pieces of machinery to the LASOVEGA officers.
LASOVEGA’s anecdote could also be a story for all organizations, only if the farmers’ associations begin to take the obstacles as challenges that need to be overcome.
It’s time for farmers’ organizations to take off. ###