Report: Promoting Partnerships to Develop the Local Food and Agriculture Industry Workshop, June 16-20, 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Group photo of participants

Group photo of participants

BACKGROUND

In many developing countries in Asia, agriculture remains the main engine fueling the growth of the national economy and reducing poverty. The sector still accounts for about 33% to 76% of total employment in more than half of APO members. For Asia as a whole, agriculture accounted for 40% of total employment in 2010. Similarly, in many APO members the manufacturing sector also relies upon agriculture for raw materials. at least for seven APO members, food products, beverages, and tobacco accounted
for 22% to 51% of manufacturing’s total value addede in 2010.

Many of the economic activities in developing countries are instrinsically linked to agriculture. Thus, it is important to enhance its productivity and increase agricultural production. This maybe a tall order for developing countries, where farms are generally small and farmers usually operate independently, which makes them highly vulnerable to the vagaries of nature and market.Their production systems are inefficient, resulting in low productivity. Several efforts have been made to roganize smalll farmer’s co-opreates and farmer’s associations for mutual support and cooperative endeavors.The success rates of such endeavors have declined over time, however. Similarly, different models of partnership among stakeholders were introduced in the last three ddecades, particularly those linking small farmers with food processors/manufacturers and exporters under various arrangements. Such schemes enabled pooling resources, while sharing technology, skills, and expertise in defined terms and achieving economies of scale. Some of those initiatives were successful while others were not. considering the potential synergies of capacities and capabilities under various partnership arrangements, it may be useful examine which of these models would still be relevant to the development of local agriculture and the food industry under the current market regime. It is also important to examine the role of government and academic institutions in providing a conductive policy environment and technological support to catalyze the development of such partnership.

OBJECTIVES OF THE PROJECT

a. To examine different models of and approaches in promoting partnership among stakeholders to develop local agriculture and the food industry; and

b. To develop a framework and action plan for establishing sustainable partnership in agriculture and the food industry in member countries.

OBJECTIVES FOR PARTICIPATION

a. To learn from the various models/cases from other Asian countries/government their approaches and experiences in promoting partnership to develop local agriculture and the food industry, especially partnerships involving co-operatives.

b. To gain insights from the various models/approaches on how the CDA can come up with program intervention for agri-based co-ops so that the farmer-members become part of the  value chain of the relevant industry.

c. To expect a productive interaction, sharing and establishing linkages and connection with other APO member countries for possible technical and business tie-ups, especially with the Asian Economic Integration phenomenon.

PROFILE OF PARTICIPANTS

A total of 22 participants attended the workshop from 14 countries. Eighteen are APO overseas participants and four are APO local participants. The participants came from Bangladesh (2), Cambodia (1), Republic of China (1), India (2), Indonesia (1), Nepal (1), Pakistan (2), Thailand, (2), Vietnam (1), Sri Lanka (4), and the Philippines (2).

The Filipino participants are:

Mr. Allan C. Goleng
Economic Development Specialist II
National Economic Development Authority
12 J.M. Escriva Drive, Ortigas Center

Ms. Mercedes D. Castillo
Administrator
Cooperative Development Authority
827 Service Road, Aurora Blvd., Cubao , Quezon City

SCOPE, CONTENT, METHODOLOGY

The scope of the workshop covered the following modules:

a. Trends in agriculture and food industry development in Asia;
b. Revitalization of local rural economies through agricultural development;
c. Selected models of partnerships in agriculture and food industry;
e. Contract farming and other outsourcing schemes;
f. Public-private partnerships in agribusiness;
g. Roles of R&D centers in the development of local agriculture and the food industry;
h. case studies of sustainable partnerships in the development of local agriculture and the food industry; and
i. Framework for developing greater synergy between local agriculture and the food industry.

The methodology used interactive sessions on the theme presentations, sharing of country experience during the individual and group activities and field visits.

OUTCOMES AND EVALUATION

My knowledge on the partnership was enhanced by the framework that was presented by the resource person which was based on various partnerships experiences (private-public, bilateral and multilateral arrangements, between and among academic and other institutions.) The Framework is useful in examining the partnership arrangements which the CDA engaged itself for various programs, projects and activities.

The program exceeded my expectations and the objectives were met. The host, Agriculture Ministry of Sri Lanka did an Excellent job, and the village people for their very warm welcome and engaging interaction.

All presenters (resource persons and participants) were experienced resource persons as they shared their professional and organizational experiences.

RECOMMENDATIONS AND ACTION STEPS

General recommendations to APO and APO member countries:

A system of networking, exchanging, sharing and updating among graduates from different countries is recommended for potential/possible collaboration and/or partnerships.

The Philippine NPO (DAP) and Cooperative Development Authority can explore on productivity program/project(s) for various types of co-ops. This is one area (increased productivity) to enhance for co-ops to become more effective instruments for achieving socioeconomic development of their members and their communities and to contribute in nation building.

A nation-wide conference to start with agriculture-based co-ops will held on the 4th quarter this year. The workshop program will be a reference in the design of the conference. The resource materials will be shared to the Cooperative Development Authority officials and extension offices for reference. A dialogue meeting with APO will be initiated to explore partnership possibilities.

SUBMITTED BY:

MERCEDES D. CASTILLO
Administrator
Cooperative Development Authority

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