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FEATURE STORY

AAIGA @

BY: LEONORA K. VERZOLA, AAIGA COORDINATOR

 

AAIGA @ 7

LIG members remitting their LAF repayment for their CFI in Kapangan, Benguet during tthe LIG assessment on November 3, 2015.

 

From a shaky start to redesign at midterm, the component is now on a buoyant sail towards project end.

 

Through the prescribed value chain approach which calls for a commodity-specific, participatory and integrated package of interventions, the component was able to implement various livelihood subprojects through 644 strengthened/organized livelihood interest groups (LIGs) reaching 17, 197 beneficiaries.

 

AAIGA@7

 

This started with participatory planning in the covered barangays where the beneficiaries identified their priority commodities using sustainability-aligned prioritization criteria.

 

To guide implementation, enterprise development plans of priority commodities were prepared.   Livelihood interest groups, subprojects and interventions per node of the commodity value chains were identified based on SWOT analysis and rapid market appraisal conducted.  

 

With the EDPs, as basis, package of interventions (technology promotion, trainings, equipment/ materials and capital through the Livelihood Assistance Fund) to initiate and sustain the livelihood subprojects of the LIGs were determined and provided. Due to time and expertise limitations, however, in- depth value chain assessment was not conducted, hence, revisions if and when needed were done in the course of implementation.  

 

The value chain approach integrates the various interventions of the component from farm production improvement, product development, market access/ linkaging and rural finance.   

 

For more outreach, other income generating activities (IGAs) outside of the priority commodity value chains were accommodated as off-farm/non-farm IGAs and LIGs under this category were organized/ strengthened and provided with needed support.  

 

The provision of capital through the Livelihood Assistance Fund (LAF) facilitated beneficiary participation in the mobilization of P 60,720,000 to fund various livelihood subprojects within the priority value chains including off -farm and non-farm subprojects. The LAF was channeled through local Community Financial Institutions (CFIs) serving as fund conduit and at the same time providing assistance to LIGs on bookkeeping, financial management and resolution of implementation issues and concerns.

 

AAIGA@7 CommodityThe market-oriented Farmer Business School (FBS), an upgrade of the production-oriented Farmer Field School(FFS) piloted and upscaled by CHARMP 2 was instrumental in inculcating business orientation among LIGs resulting to an appreciation of market-led production systems that would eventually inspire the LIG members to pursue and further enhance their livelihood subprojects for sustainability.

 

Of note is the business/product launching where the LIGs are supported to market test and promote their products.  This was started as a component of the Farmer Business School and is continued as business/product promotion strategy.

 

To complement the holistic implementation strategy, School on Air broadcasts were aligned to the priority commodity value chains where technologies from production to processing and marketing were emphasized. Hence, SOA modules for the different priority commodities were developed and aired through radio with practicum on selected topics conducted to validate technology uptake prior to SOA graduation.

 

Likewise, the learning visits served as vehicle for enhanced adoption of technologies, ideas and practices. Hence, learning visits were conducted with lectures and on-site hands-on demonstration.   

 

Depending on the technologies promoted, venues were in processing centers, markets and farms.  

 

Where applicable, equipment were deployed in strategic sites either managed by LGUs or selected LIGs.  Starter kits were also provided to LIGs to start with their food processing activities.

 

While market access remains challenging considering the constraints on communication, transport, product quality and quantity, the LIGs are able to sell within and outside their communities through various channels. RTCs, livestock and poultry and processed products are usually sold within the community while coffee, heirloom rice, achuete and vegetables reach outside markets.

 

An understanding of the participatory, commodity- specific, integrated and holistic nature of the Project’s value chain approach was necessary to accelerate implementation, hence, various training-workshops were conducted with LGUs and farmers. Of note, was the partnership with CIP-FoodSTART, in understanding the value chain approach.

 

SUSTAINABILITY AND WAY FORWARD

The concern for sustainability of LIG subprojects is one of the reasons for CHARMP2 extension. Hence, for the one year Project extension, efforts will be geared towards enhancing the capacities of the LIGs to manage their subprojects through continuous coaching and mentoring particularly on record keeping/bookkeeping, business management and linkaging/networking with various institutions for product development, additional equipment/supplies, additional capital and marketing.//

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