The Department of Agriculture and the Cooperatives Development Authority (CDA) signed today/Jan. 11 an agreement promoting the cooperative movement among farmers and fisherfolk in a bid to enhance administration efforts to empower the farm sector to produce and supply sufficient and affordable food for Filipinos.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said creating more cooperatives among farmers and fisherfolk would boost cooperation to improve farm productivity and marketing of agricultural products. “In view of our vision, there is a need for coordination between the DA and the CDA for the development and organization of cooperatives,” the DA Secretary said after he and CDA chairman Orlando Ravanera signed the document.

Piñol noted that the national government’s cooperatives development program started under the DA because of that principle.

There are 20,000 micro-cooperatives across the country, most of them formed by farmers and fisher folk.

Piñol further said he envisions the establishment of a national federation of farmers and fisherfolk’s cooperatives that will enable the country’s 14 million farmers to have a say in the direction of Philippine agriculture and government farm policies.

Under the main provisions of the agreement, the DA and the CDA will cooperate in identifying and consolidating cooperatives formed by farmers, fisherfolk and rural women.

They will also identify and implement capacity-building and training activities for cooperatives members nationwide to improve their capability to plan, manage, organize and implement their business.

The DA will provide training programs through the Agriculture Training Institute (ATI) to help promote the capabilities of cooperatives and farmers’ organizations, tough organizations and farm families. (DA-OSEC)