GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Sarangani province recently launched the Farm Business School (FBS) which aims to improve the entrepreneurial and management skills of agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) in the area.
A total of 60 B’laan farmer-beneficiaries registered to the 25-session FBS in Sitio B’lat, Barangay Amsipit, Maasim town in Sarangani.
B’laans are among the dominant Indigenous Peoples (IPs) in Sarangani province where most of their ancestral domains are situated.
Toni Saliman, the tribal chieftain asked his fellow farmers to unite and avail the FBS program as it unlocks many opportunities in the future.
During the launching program, Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer II Felix C. Frias told the participants, “The smallholder farmers and indigenous people will no longer be vulnerable when they seek knowledge and apply them. The education acquired in FBS will help them become competitive and prepare for business opportunities”.
Targeted as the main competency of the FBS program is that farmers will learn and practice how to regard their farming as an enterprise and making the over-all farm operations profitable and market driven.
Municipal Agriculturist Susan B. Baya said that through FBS, the minds of the IP farmers will be opened and boost their confidence in transforming their farm as a business enterprise with stronger linkages to markets.
“One salient feature of FBS is the clustering approach in agro-enterprise. From production to marketing, farmers are grouped to increase their capacity to negotiate collectively to establish markets”, Baya added.
Meanwhile, OIC Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer Romeo Rellin said that FBS is important to equip the ARBs in preparation for future challenges.
Rellin also told the farmers that once they apply their learnings, they are no longer simple farmers but farmer-entrepreneurs, an occupation which their children can be proud of.
As a response, Nathy Daniel the president of B’lat Farmers Association thanked the government for considering their organization as a recipient of FBS.
“Sa kadaghang gihatag nga assistance ug training sa atoa, walay pagduha duha nga muasenso ta labi na gitudluan ta’g pagnegosyo (No doubt that we will prosper given the various assistance we received from the government and this farm business school)”, Daniel said.
Complementing the soil and climate in the area, the group selected Corn Production as their agricultural enterprise. Accordingly, the IP farmers will be divided into two groups and will have separate sessions per week. The FBS is expected to be completed in October.
Intensification of support programs and services to ARBs is among the priorities of DAR under the administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and the leadership of Secretary John R. Castriciones.
Aside from the fast-tracking of the distribution of land titles, it is the mandate of President Duterte to enhance the capabilities of ARBs through their organizations and cooperatives to improve their farm productivity and entrepreneurial skills through seminars and trainings.
In the entirety of the newly-launched FBS program in Sarangani province, DAR will be working hand in hand with the local and barangay government units in the area.
Ms. Kristine Joy C. Carriedo and Ms. Lorna S. Acanto of the ARBDSP Division of DAR Sarangani will facilitate the said activity. (A. Torino DAR Sarangani)