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OURFood CHRONICLES EDITORIAL BOARD Dietmar Speckmaier Project Manager, AFOS May Elizabeth S. Ybañez Executive Director Cebu Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Inc. (CCCI) Juan Agustine V. Jalandoni Executive Director Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (NOCCI) Eika Torrejon Executive Director Association of Negros Producers, Inc. (ANP)


EDITORIAL TEAM Teresa C. Pono Ma. Vicenta P. Rio Van Porciuncula Jeannette Lee Patindol Adonis Traje Engr. Rendell Barcimo Dr. Ana Isabel V. Salacata Doreen Alicia G. PeĂąa May Elizabeth S. YbaĂąez Gemma B. Kitane Michele A. Naranjo Lester Lope Idyl Li Valendez Noe dela Paz Hilario Mongas


Editor-in-Chief Managing Editor & Writer Creative Director/Graphic Design Guest Writer Writer Writer Writer Writer Writer Writer Writer Photographer Production Assistant Production Assistant Production Assistant

PROJECT MANAGEMENT TEAM Dietmar Speckmaier Teresa C. Pono Rosario H. Ouano Frande Lear T. Guillera Mary Jasmin B. Tandugon Arnel T. Taneo Adonis M. Traje Engr. Rendell C. Barcimo Ma. Vicenta P. Rio Idyl Li Valendez Manna Majal Tambasen Kim Orcullo Noe dela Paz Vergie Solidarios Hilario Mongas

Project Manager Resident Representative Finance Officer Administrative Officer Accounting Assistant Admin-Finance Assistant Agriculture Component Coordinator Processed Food Compoonent Coordinator Project Coordinator, ANP Agri Technician, ANP Food Safety Coordinator, ANP Food Safety Coordinator, NOCCI Agri Technician, NOCCI Food Safety Coordinator, CCCI Agri Technician, CCCI




The OURFood Business Model Ma. Vicenta Rio


Changing the Agricultural Landscape Adonis Traje Ma. Vicenta Rio



Transforming Food Enterprise into Food Safety Champions Michele Naranzo Gemma B. Kitane Dr. Ana Isabel V. Salacata Engr. Rendell Barcimo


OURFood Changes the Game Jeanette C. Patindol


The Role of the BMO in Sustainability Mae Elizabeth S. Ybañez Doreen Alicia G. Peña Ma. Vicenta Rio


How do you reduce into writing years of rich experience in a Project that involves thousands of individuals, groups, organizations and institutions? This was the question that boggled our minds when the idea of writing a book about OURFood was broached to us.


most), whose passion and dedication fueled project implementation in Negros Occidental and infected the partners from as far as Cebu and Negros Oriental. With Marivic’s drive to get the job done, this book has become a compilation of the written work of various equally driven players in OURFood’s life.

But the more we thought about it, the clearer the idea became on how to go about this worthwhile but formidable task. The fruits of OURFood were the result of the synergy among all involved and this we agreed, would be the approach that we would employ in putting this book together.

The OURFood Chronicles are meant to document our experiences in the conceptualization, planning and implementation of the Project through stories told first-hand by real people who were part and parcel of the entire action.

The choice of a Managing Editor came as an easy one for us - Ma. Vicenta Rio (Marivic to

In so doing, it is our hope that this compilation may serve as an inspiration

and perhaps even as a reference for future project ideas that intend to provide meaningful assistance to smallholder farmers and micro, small and medium food enterprises. Many people have contributed directly and indirectly to this work. First and foremost, we would like to thank Ms. Susann Gerlach of sequa for the impetus to write this book; OURFood Project Manager Dietmar Speckmaier for the valuable inputs and encouragement; and AFOS Managing Director Hans Joachim Maurer and his team for the direction and the support. In particular, we would like to thank the men and women who have unselfishly and skillfully woven their OURFood experience into inspiring and informative stories for all

to read including private individuals and business men who shared their time and experiences in crafting the OURFood Project way back in 2011-2012, namely, Dr Stephan Kunz, Dr. Edward Gaisano of CCCI and the Metro chain of stores, Dir. Rene Burt Llanto, Dr. Anthony Sales and Dir. Rowen Gelonga of the Department of Science & Technology, Ramon Penalosa, Philip Cruz, Pamela Henares, the women of ANP, Josephine Locsin, Ina Gaston and Reena Pena. While the OURFood Project is now on its last year of implementation, we believe that what it has initiated will be sustained by the local partners, be they in the private sector or in government. And with the help of this book, the OURFood Legacy will live on.

TERESA CURA PONO Editor in Chief 9


The OURFood Business Model By Ma. Vicenta P. Rio



The Birth of the OURFood By Ma. Vicenta Rio In 2012, the Association of Negros Producers (ANP), in partnership with Germany’s AFOS Foundation for Entrepreneurial Development Cooperation, recruited me as Overall Coordinator for Negros Occidental of their novel OURFood Project. OURFood stands for Optimizing& Upscaling Roles in the Food Supply Chain. As the name implies, the project aims to level up all phases of the local food industry, starting from primary production up to marketing of produce. As the interventions covered farming, food processing and related fields, I found my role a bit daunting at first. The new mission field was off the track from my previous work experiences. Praying about it, I was led to this biblical passage: “You have sown much but brought in 12

“You have sown much but brought in very little, you have eaten but were not satisfied...” (Haggai 1:2). very little, you have eaten but were not satisfied...” (Haggai 1:2). Taking this as my cue and affirmation, I set aside my initial trepidation and resolved to take on the challenge of the job at hand. Negros Island is the birthplace of the OURFood Project as conceptualized by AFOS and its Philippine partners. At the launching of the project, the partners (ANP, the Cebu Chamber of Commerce & Industry or CCCI, the Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce & Industry or NOCCI and AFOS), were faced with the stark reality that the persistent problems afflicting the local food industry were given minimal attention, if at all. It therefore dawned on the partners that there was an imperative need for crafting new interventions if the local food

The first OURFood delegation to Germany was exposed to international food safety standards at the Erbacher Food Intelligence Corporation.

supply chain was to survive, let alone improve. Statistics showed that ninety-nine percent (99.6%) of our country’s economy is largely dependent on food manufacturing 13

Farmers applying their learnings on Good Agricultural Practices

(Source: HACCP Certification: Analysis of Philippine Small-Scale Food Manufacturing Companies: March 2015) while a good forty –sixty percent (40-60%) of the 14

country’s SMEs are involved in Agriculture and food. The figures led to the realization of the overall importance of agriculture in the food supply chain. The partners

therefore gave critical emphasis on strengthening the root of the food supply chain -- primary production -which is farming. In 2012, initial local surveys and focused group discussions, further revealed that around 60% of the vegetables locally consumed in Negros Occidental come from outside sources like Benguet, Bukidnon and Kanlaon City. In terms of income, local small farmers owning one hectare of land were just earning between P 1,500.00-2,000.00 per month since much of their produce that was most often below maximum yield, are sold to middlemen or what we locally call as “comprador”. The “compradors” buy the produce at very low prices hardly giving the farmers enough money to even buy seeds for their next crop cycle. The culture of advancing money from the

One begins to wonder why with all the tillable lands in Negros island, we continue to rely on vegetable supply from other provinces?

Why do small farmers continue to be poor when much of our food supply come from small farmers?

Why do children of farmers refuse to embrace farming and seek their future in the city?

Given all the natural resources in our midst, why does our economy remain fragile? 15

“compradors” became rampant too. As the cycle of debt ensued, the small farmers became poorer as the lending “compradors” started dictating the prices. On the other hand, those who bring their produce to the market incur 30%-40% spoilage due to poor packaging using the native “ka-ing” or the sack, lack of transportation facilities and bad road conditions. Due to lack of basic technology and proper market orientation, the small farmers do not know how to properly price their products and only followed the prices prevailing in the traditional markets without knowing if they were losing money or not. Production and income were not maximized due


to farmers’ limited knowledge on Inter-cropping, crop rotation and protective farming and market outlets were limited to traditional markets called “bagsakan” The food processing sector on the other hand, did not acquire enough knowledge on food safety standards and practices and is heavily constrained with regulatory procedures and processes. Enhancing competitiveness in the Food manufacturing and processing industry remains an urgent call particularly in the light of the ASEAN economic integration with less than 5% of local food processors and manufacturers being compliant to acceptable standards.

Considerable spoilage is caused by traditional packaging of vegetables


A short-term expert evaluates prevailing farming practices in Negros.

The OURFood Business Model After a benchmarking trip to La Trinidad in Benguet and Germany, the OURFood core group was exposed to many possibilities and market opportunities. Dr Stephan Kunz, former long term expert of AFOS said, “if we want to improve the income situations of small farmers, who provide


food on our tables, there is a need to implement a qualification program along a certain food supply chain that will improve the competencies and productivity of the small players“. What followed next was the identification of products and supply chains as well as the qualified needs. The biggest finding was that Food Safety was not embedded in the entire local food system. It will be difficult, therefore, for the local food industry to compete, not only in

terms of price but also quality and supply if the local players do not follow the same standards as the rest. The Challenge to make a more efficient, competitive and sustainable business model for the local food industry prompted CCCI, ANP and NOCCI to harmonize and cooperate in the OURFood Project with the support and assistance of the AFOS Foundation.

The OURFood Project was thus established in three major areas in the Visayas (Cebu, Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental) to maximize income opportunities for MSMEs in the food supply chain particularly smallholder farmers. The program decided to focus on developing the work and quality standards/practices from the farm to the market place by way of training and qualification, a global approach to make the food

OURFood delegation intently listens as they are briefed on support services for farmers in Germany.


Farmers delivering produce to an institutional buyer, NVC Foundation 20

industry more competitive and sustainable in the light of ASEAN. The holistic Business model and framework was to develop a synergy in the whole chain from

farmers to food processors to the final consumers and market. Unlike many other programs, OURFood invested in the right areas.

Food Safety Awareness session in Bacolod City


Surviving the Food Industry through Food Safety Standards


As food travels, so do bacteria, virus and other food-borne illnesses which can be carried by contaminated raw materials. Without any doubt, Food safety is the language of the trade, a basic criteria to enter the institutional and premium markets. GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) for Agriculture and GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) for the food processing sector and organic alignment and entrepreneurial skills became major training elements of the OURFood Project.

Trainings on Good Agricultural Practices are complemented with entrepreneurial training.

In the entire country, only 82 farms (BAFS, 2016) were GAP certified farms (both collective and individual farms). This data alone places the country’s agriculture at a disadvantage in terms of supplying to premium and institutional markets. As GAP was introduced, some individual farmers and pro-organic associations showed initial resistance due to lack of

knowledge and a misplaced mind-set that GAP encourages the use of chemical fertilizers. Little, however, did they know that GAP is a standard applicable to both organic and traditional farming. Considering the income situation and limited yield of small farmers at the start of the program, transforming them to become fully organic will not survive them. The GAP system was adopted to sustain and enable small farmers

FRAMEWORK Training and Qualification including constant monitoring on the job

Farmers Logistics & Trade Food Processing and Food Services Establishments

Compliance with requirements & standards based on Makret stipulations

Advocacy & Sustainability by BMOs in collaboration with public & private sector

Sourcing & processing local food systematized and structured by training & qualification for all stakeholders within the supply chain

Market Criteria

(Quality, Volume, Price, Food Safety, Sustainability)


to make it to premium wholesale markets. In 2014, OURFood began training three (3) small farmers’ groups located in San Carlos and Silay Cities in Negros Occidental, three (3) from Negros Oriental located in the municipalities of La Libertad, Ayungon and Valencia and one (1) farmers’ group from Cebu province located in Mantalongon,

Dalaguete. The farmers’ groups all went through GAP training particularly on Internal Control System and documentation. By 2015, the farms in Negros Occidental were certified by the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards (BAFS) for GAP. By April of 2016, these farmers’ groups through the OURFood’s intervention increased their yield

The GAP certification of the Dalaguete Vegetable Growers Association made them the first smallholder group in Cebu and the fourth in the Visayas to be so certified. 24

by 380% after learning basic technology on inter-cropping, crop rotation and protective farming. ANP became the first partner Business Membership Organization (BMO) to link the farmers with premium markets like Monchito’s that supplies supermarket outlets and NVC Foundation, a food processor using the food safety standards as selling

point. Aside from garnering the GAP Certification from DA, the farmers’ group in Cebu, achieved certification from Unilever under its Unilever Sustainable Agriculture Code (ULSAC). The Negros Oriental farmers that have also been ULSAC certified are now awaiting the issuance of their GAP certification by DA. Under the Food Processing

OURFood FarmerTrainers share their knowledge on GAP and Organic Farm Production with farmers in neighboring areas.


ANP representatives, led by Pres. Christina Gaston, attend the Bacolod City Council session on the proposed local Food Safety Ordinance.


component, OURFood with the support of the Department of Science & Technology (DOST) prioritized the development of local food consultants and experts called FCG (Food Consultancy Group) to augment the lack of manpower resources of regulatory government agencies to conduct trainings. Local enterprises, mostly micro and small companies, no longer have to be burdened with costly trainings from Manila since

local consultants are already available and accessible. The Program also partnered with the DOST in providing GMP Assessment and companylevel training to more than a hundred enterprises throughout the coverage areas. Aside from company-level trainings, partner BMOs also organize public-run food safety awareness activities benefiting a total of four hundred nine (409) food processors and

food service establishment in Cebu, Negros Oriental and Occidental. In Negros Occidental, the intervention paved the way for the revival of the ANP-Foundation for Enterprise Development (AFEDI) as the training arm of ANP that will address and sustain the training needs of the food industry. To further strengthen the implementation of food safety measures under Republic Act 10611, the program team in Negros Occidental did not just direct its implementation to stakeholders of the food industry but also worked on legislation. The passing of the Bacolod Food Safety Ordinance through the efforts of Ex-Councilor Atty. Jocelle Batapa made Bacolod as the pioneering City to have a food safety ordinance. The need to close the loop also prompted the OURFood Project team to conduct a series of food safety awareness sessions for consumers’ groups, media, students and LGUs in all the coverage areas. Increasing consumers’ awareness on the health

benefits of consuming products with food safety standards will help optimize the potentials of the food industry. Among the highlights from the consumers’ fora was the proposal to launch a province–wide campaign on food safety through the development of provincial food safety council parallel to the regional and national food safety development councils. The harmonization and collaboration will ensure that the entire food network speak the same language as the rest of the world. The OURFood intervention did not just provide economic benefits to the small players, in the food supply chain but it also provided environmental benefits, preservation of farm lands and provision of safe and quality produce for the consuming public. Micro and small food enterprises are now beginning to realize that they have the capacity to level up given the right intervention. Small farmers are now finally seeing their value and are now given the respect and support that are long overdue.



Changing the Agricultural Landscape By Adonis Traje Ma. Vicenta Rio



The OURFood Farming Component: Dealing with Realities and Inspiring Change By Adonis Traje The OURFood Agriculture component was implemented in 3 provinces in the Visayas namely Cebu, Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental. In Cebu Province, we worked in the Municipality of Dalaguete. It is the vegetable basket of Central Visayas owing to its massive production of temperate vegetables such as cabbage, carrots, beans, Chinese pechay and other low temperature-loving crops. Dalaguete produces 90 metric tons of fresh vegetables daily during summer months and early onset of rain (February to July) and at least 60 metric tons during lean months (September to January) due to unfavorable weather conditions and the onset of tropical cyclones. 30

In the later writings, there are farm data presented from the Municipality of Argao. The OURFood team attempted to include the farmers in Argao as the municipality has vegetable producing areas and there are many “farmer-scientist� trained farmers under a local government program. In addition, Argao is geographically connected with the Municipality of Dalaguete. Overall in the Province of Cebu, the OURFood farming component expanded and focused its attention on the Municipality of Dalaguete. There are more than 5,000 farmers and farmer households spread across the mountain barangays of the Municipality. We worked with the Dalaguete Vegetable Growers Association (DAVEGA). The group is represented by 15 farmer leaders. These leaders come

LGU La Libertad: An OURFood partner in helping small farmers.

from other farmer associations in the mountain barangays that attempted to consolidate the produce for marketing. But many events came about which changed the function of the farmer association. In Negros Oriental, we worked in the Municipalities of Valencia, Ayungon, and La Libertad. The Municipality of Valencia has a very promising agriculture and tourism industry. Its location is blessed with fertile land and clean water is immensely flowing from a nearby dormant volcano. 31

During harvest seasons (April to September), the Municipality overflows with fruits such as Rambutan, Lanzones, , Mango, local bananas (plantain and table bananas) and even durian, as well as cut flowers such as anthuriums, chrysanthemums, daisies and asters. There were 60 farmers in Valencia who were very interested in Good Agricultural Practices. We trained 5 farmers in the early years of OURFood and expanded to 60 farmers. These farmers have opted to stay independent and not become part of any association. Based on our data, the farmers produced a mix of various crops from fruits to both highland and lowland vegetables. Organic production seemed feasible given the fertile land. Many of our farmers practice natural farming or 32

low input agriculture. Their land is able to produce really high value crops such as lettuce of various varieties, herbs and spices. Their market has more sophisticated demand compared to Cebu. Individually, they market their products in Dumaguete City which is highly accessible to all forms of vehicle. The majority of our farmers in Negros Oriental are situated in the Municipalities of Ayungon and La Libertad. The two municipalities

OURFood Cebu farmer inspects his produce for GAP certification Photo

OURFood farmer in La Libertad, Negros Oriental showcases her produce during market day. Although not yet certified, they are GAP practitioners.

are located near the boundary of Negros Occidental. Unlike the resources enjoyed by Valencia, Ayungon and La Libertad are definitely more deprived. The land tilled by farmers in La Libertad is rocky and based on our survey and samples tested and analyzed, the soil is clay loam with a high percentage of silt. Some farms have sandy loam soil classification. The farmers live and till their land in sloping and mountainous areas.

With the high probability of erosion and nutrient loss, La Liberted implemented a long running program called the Conservation Farming Villages (CFV). This program has trained farmers to implement the Sloping Agricultural Land Technology (SALT) in conjunction with social and economic activities such as marketing, community organizing and has deployed eleven agritechnicians to oversee and assist farmers. The idea came from the University of the Philippines in Los Banos which introduced the program. Since then, it has formed various partnerships with other agencies and the academe in the Negros Oriental province such as Silliman University, Department of Agriculture, Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Provincial Government and the Central Philippines State University (CPSU). In 2015, AFOS and the Negros Oriental v & Industry (NOCCI) formally entered into 33

partnership with La Libertad to assist the 360 farmers in their Municipality.

Signing of Memorandum of Understanding with the Ayungon OURFood Farmer’s Association, the Local Government of Ayungon and AFOS Foundation (July 15, 2015)

In Ayungon, the Municipality has its very own mechanized nursery producing millions of seedlings for reforestation. It has designated a farmer association to ensure the management of the production and selling as well as planting of 34

agroforest tree seedlings. From a core group of 5 farmers in Ayungon, OURFood coverage has increased to 60 farmers. The project has trained, implemented and improved the production of these farmers. La Libertad and Ayungon are endowed with good local governance. The support of the local government has made up for the lack in natural resources. The combined number of farmers of 460 from Ayungon and La Libertad has received more assistance than any farmer or farmer association in the OURFood Project. From its chief executive to the heads of offices, staff and agritechnicians, the commitment of the local government goes beyond their call of duty. In Ayungon, the farmer association was named after the project Ayungon-OURFood Farmer association. In La Libertad, it consolidated its 12

farmer associations and formed its first farmer federation named Federated CFV-OURFood Farmer Association. To ensure that assistance will continue, both local government units in Negros Oriental included the program budget in their annual investment plans which means that there is a specific allocation of budget for the implementation of the OURFood interventions. In Negros Occidental, the OURFood Project was implemented in various cities namely San Carlos City, Talisay City, Bago City, Bacolod City, Silay City, and Murcia. Around 395 farmers were trained and assisted by

Mr. Noe de la Paz orienting farmers of the Municipality of Valencia on GAP.

Hands-on training of Nagalao farmers on organic farming in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental 35

At the onset of the El Nino Phenomenon in 2015, the bell pepper plant were severely affected by intense dryness. (Photo taken from one of OURFood farmers in Dalaguete, Cebu)

the program. Through the Association of Negros Producers, the farmers were supported in terms of marketing and linkaging. Various organizations, as well as institutional buyers assisted the Project. The first smallholder farmer groups to be GAP-certified are located in Negros Occidental. These are: Patag Farmers Integrated Social Forestry Association (PaFISFA), 36

Bukidnon Organic Farmers Association (BOFA) and Iliranan Tribal Council (ITC). PaFISFA is located in Silay City and is blessed with fertile soil and abundant water. It is located in a forest reserve and their land resource is also a government grant. Under the PaFISFA, they are allowed to till the land but must take care of the forest by producing forest tree seedlings and planting them. BOFA and ITC are located in San Carlos City. ITC is an indigenous people’s group given resources under the National Commission for Indigenous People (NCIP) while BOFA is an organic farmer association originally formed by the local government of San Carlos City. As the OURFood Project expanded, we tapped other farmer associations such as the Nagalao Vegetable Growers Association (NAVEGA) and Apog-apog Vegetable Growers Association

(AVEGA). These two farmer associations are located at the foot of Mt. Canlaon – the vegetable basket of Negros Island. Other farmer associations and livelihood associations were brought into the Project by the Department of Social Welfare & Development (DSWD) and the local government units. Under the DSWD program called Sustainable Livelihood Program, OURFood trained 200 farmers to produce GAP and organic vegetables. Currently, they also supply the markets in Bacolod.

1. Climate and agriculture Towards the end of year 2015 until the following year 2016, the El Nino Phenomenon (drought) hit the country. It took 7 to 8 months of almost no rain. The farmers in the Visayas felt the impact of the El Nino on their production. The

Soil started to open up due to drought. Even grasses cannot survive the intense heat.

OURFood Project was also heavily affected at the onset of its second phase. In Cebu, the farmers’ crops died slowly of dehydration (wilting) and along with it went the hope for better income for everyone who joined the OURFood Project. While we teach Good Agricultural Practices, we recognize the hardship and sacrifice of the farmers who are waiting for rain to come. Dry, hard soil if not dust, this was the situation in the fields. 37

Signing of Memorandum of Agreement with the LGU Dalaguete, the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry and AFOS with the leaders of DAVEGA ​

Goats and cattle were also affected because even grasses did not survive the drought. OURFood sent a team of German students (through the ASA Basis Program) namely Jan Hennigs, Ruben Vagt and Berit Vosskamper and a Senior water expert Dr. Heinz Sourell through the Senior Experten Service (SES) to find solutions for the farmers’ water problem. The experts arrived in 38

September 2016 and stayed for 2 months to check on the water situation in each barangay. In his report, Dr. Heinz Sourell said that the Mantalongon, Dalaguete area may not have ground water but merely percolated water which is collected by the rocky undersurface. During high rainfall, ground water is readily available but easily disturbed when drawn out mechanically with pumps. In

Water Experts from Germany: Dr. Heinz Sourell and the ASA Students namely Ruben Vagt, Jan Hennigs and Berit Vosskaemper. Photo taken during the farm visit to Manolo Lanzaderas’ farm in Dumalan, Dalaguete, Cebu (2016) 39

Community organizing for BOFA, Nagalao Farmers and ITC.

times of drought, water becomes a problem. Farmers complain of frequent diarrhea and other digestive pains. Although not clinically diagnosed, the seasonal variation and the observations of the farmers correlated with waterborne diseases prevalent during times of drought. Farmers learn to cope through various methods of sourcing water such as creating shallow water


holes, impounding rainwater, and developing or fabricating water pumps. Despite this coping mechanism, water was not enough to support production. In 2016, the vegetable production in Dalaguete dropped from 60-90 tons a day to barely 3 tons per day. OURFood farmers continued with their production with very small amount of income while some farmers stopped production and moved to Cebu City to find jobs.

In Negros Oriental, farmers in La Libertad and Ayungon used hoses to direct water from springs and creeks to their farms. Deep wells were also tapped but were expensive and laborious. In effect, the production of vegetables dropped drastically.

Leader had difficulty in producing vegetables so that he had to source vegetables from the Sitio Minaudlot in order to serve the demand of the Bacolod market. He had to traverse around 5 kilometers of dangerous mountain slopes to get to this area.

In San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, water was also a limiting factor for BOFA. Merco Ubas, an OURFood Farmer

Merco tried growing vegetables using water pumped out of a creek that was contaminated. Two of his cattle died of poisoning after

New members of BOFA and ITC are oriented on the organization and the ICS-GAP.


drinking water from this creek. This prompted him to discontinue using the contaminated water. A few months later, his house and his parents’ house were burned to the ground. With the blink of an eye, all his investments turned to ashes. No one knows how the fire started but the absence of water and the dry and arid environment all contributed to the fast spread of the fire. No fire trucks came because no one could report the incident due to the absence of cellphone signal in the area aside from the area being too far from the authorities.

2. Poverty, Education and the next generation of farmers The country’s population in 2016 was recorded at 103 million up by 3 million compared to 2015. The population growth rate over an 42

Josephine Amban, a farmer and one of ITC members benefited from the OURFood linkage by receiving school supplies for her 10 children.

average of a 10-year period (19902000) was at 2.34 based on the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA, 2017). The functional literacy rate as of 2000 is at 87%. Despite the high literacy rate in the country, there remains a large population of functional illiterates. Lack of infrastructure, motivation and awareness, access to quality

education and poverty all contributed to illiteracy.




OURFood farmers lived from the main 0.78 km. 2.97 km. in the mountains where road going to school is definitely a challenge. Walking Table 1. Average distance of OURFood for hours to reach the nearest elementary and high schools is the smallholder farmers from the roads norm. When the weather is not permissive, it is easier to be absent. becomes difficult for them to open When harvest time comes, children bank accounts. assist their parents in harvesting The most intelligent offspring and marketing or simply looking are sent to school to get higher after the younger brothers and education in the urban centers to sisters while the parents convert become teachers, engineers and the crops to cash. When children get sick, they stop schooling. Their white collar workers while the poor performers were made to stay in parents do not appreciate the value of education and the cycle of the farms to work as farm laborers. illiteracy continues. For shame and In addition, farmers’ children are lack of awareness, they hide their discouraged from being farmers illiteracy. as farming is associated with poverty. Parents opt to send their We discovered an entire farming children to schools in the urban community unable to read and center to be nurses, information write. When we asked them to technologists, engineers and sign documents, to write their professionals shunning farming as names, to read the GAP materials and explain these in local language, a profession of the poor. we saw a trail of excuses not Good agricultural practices to perform. Everyone has no (GAP) required farmers to record permanent signature so that it



their activities and costs of production. The BOFA is blessed with farmers who are able to read and write. They assisted the association to record the activities of each member and at the same time collect their data for the association’s use during the certification process. OURFood linked them to another non-government organization which assists children. The farmer’s children were provided with school bags and supplies

A multi-cab jeep stuck in a muddy road. 44

and even books so they can go to school with complete materials.

Despite that literacy challenge, BOFA and ITC were few of the farmer associations in the Philippines that were GAP certified and subsequently recertified.

3. Why do farmers live in mountains and not on the flat land? Around the world, it is common that small farmers are situated in the mountain slopes away from the cities and arable lands. The migration of people from rural to urban centers has affected the increase in prices of real estate. Because of the tremendous increase, real estate is overpriced and value projections over the long term are bloated. The results: more informal settlers flock to the cities while farms are sold to middle and rich classes. Meanwhile, the mountains are government lands ready for takeover by the farmers. Forest lands are utilized were water and land are free. Farmers, therefore,

crept into forest reserves and watersheds. The resulting havoc in the environment is massive. Loss of forests, topsoil and subsequent pollution of creeks and tributaries are some of the few impacts of farming on steep slopes.

OURFood farmers in all areas live in mountain ranges with a slope of more than 18 degrees. In Dalaguete, farmers produce vegetables at a slope of more than 30 degrees. When asked how they came to live in those situations, it was found out that many were migrants since the 1970s and 1980s. They came to Cebu looking for opportunities to work. Some have been displaced from mining of coal. Table 1 shows the average distance of farms from the main road. The main road leads to markets which may be more than 100km. This survey does not show the quality of road infrastructure.

It takes a lot of cost to transport vegetables from the farms in

barangay Codcod, Nagalao and Apog-apog because of the road conditions. The cost of hauling veggies to the habal-habal (motorcycle used as utility vehicle) station is around Php1.00 per kilogram. If the farms are located at a steep slope, the cost of hauling them to the station is Php2.00 per kilogram. The habalhabal fare per kilogram of vegetables to the Poblacion is Php1.00. In the OURFood Project, farmers were trained to change their type of transport packaging from sacks and local bukag (basket) to plastic crates. Although crates hold a lower volume of vegetables as compared to bukag and sacks, the significant reduction in damage makes up

Traditional way of hauling vegetables from farm to the main road or consolidation area.


for the low volume of vegetables transported. We also taught them to plant herbs, spices, salad vegetables and other exotic crops because of their high demand and value. We discouraged the production of low value, high volume crops. We also taught them crop scheduling to avoid over production. Farmers were trained and informed on market demand and requirements of the institutional buyers. Some institutional buyers adjusted their requirements upon learning of the situation of smallholder farmers. Some have been touched by the sacrifices that smallholder farmers had to make, hence, they offered various types of assistance such as cash basis payments and farm inputs.. We wanted our farmers to supply vegetables with dignity, hence, we did not only impose standards on the production but also chose buyers who offer fair prices to our farmers. We chose buyers who have the capacity to extend their patience and reduce their profit for our farmers. 46

4. Understanding imbalances in supply and demand and price fluctuations Competitiveness is a word which is often misunderstood by farmers. Many farmers thought that competitiveness means high price for quality. This impression was quickly changed when they met institutional buyers preaching competitiveness to the tune of low price, high quality and world class service. In the experience of the OURFood farmers, retailers did not appreciate GAP and thus offered low prices for the farmers’ produce. Their hopes that certified crops would command higher prices were dashed. We had to change our tack from getting premium prices to achieving market access through lower prices and sustained high volume of produce. We negotiated for them on some terms such as cash payments and ordering process. Seasonality plays a big role. It gives not only an accurate forecast of the

prices and volume but also defines what competitiveness means for farmers. For every season, each farmer planted the same kind of vegetables expecting an assured market. In the production process, the rising cost of inputs (seeds, fertilizers, equipment and etc) is driven by the demand of farmers to plant the same crops. However, simultaneous harvesting of same crops dampened the prices. The lag time between current demand and prices and production time seemed hard to understand. When the price of a certain commodity skyrockets, news spread like wild fire. Soon everyone jumps into the bandwagon. When harvest season comes, the market is swamped with the supply of similar products. Traders and middlemen influenced

supply and demand. They dictate the prices at the farm gates. They withheld the information on the market prices and demand. They locked in supply through cash advances to the farmers. The OURFood Project, through its partners, trained farmers on crop planning, establishment of Internal Control System and training them on entrepreneurship to program supply with the demand. Linking them with markets directly to avoid the middlemen has made a huge impact on their sales and income. Transparency of pricing and transactions with institutional buyers has made the farmers stick with the program. We listened to their needs and developed means to assist farmers in their difficulty.


​ omen farmers of La Libertad, Negros Oriental taking care W of the marketing activities of their association​


Vegetable Production vs. Rainfall 1,500

800 700

Average Quarterly Rainfall in Visayas

1,200 600

Negros Oriental Rainfall (in mm)



400 600

300 200

Negros Occidental Cebu


100 0

3rd Qtr. 2015

4th Qtr. 2015

1st Qtr. 2016

2nd Qtr. 2016

3rd Qtr. 2016

4th Qtr. 2016

1st Qtr. 2017



Vegetable Production vs. Temperature 800




500 400 300


Temperature (in Celsius)


Average Quarterly Temperature in Visayas Negros Oriental Negros Occidental Cebu

200 100 0

3rd Qtr. 2015

4th Qtr. 2015

1st Qtr. 2016

2nd Qtr. 2016

3rd Qtr. 2016

4th Qtr. 2016

1st Qtr. 2017




Average Income vs. Rainfall 1,500

800 700

Average Quarterly Rainfall in Visayas

1,200 600

Negros Oriental Rainfall (in mm)



400 600

300 200

Negros Occidental Cebu


100 0

3rd Qtr. 2015

4th Qtr. 2015

1st Qtr. 2016

2nd Qtr. 2016

3rd Qtr. 2016

4th Qtr. 2016

1st Qtr. 2017



Average Income vs. Temperature 800




500 400 300


200 100 0

3rd Qtr. 2015

4th Qtr. 2015

1st Qtr. 2016

2nd Qtr. 2016



3rd Qtr. 2016

4th Qtr. 2016

1st Qtr. 2017


Temperature (in Celsius)


Average Quarterly Temperature in Visayas Negros Oriental Negros Occidental Cebu

Cebu Farmer Beneficiary Profile Sample Data of Cebu Farmers Beneficiaries’ Profile taken in 2015. There are about 200 farmers in Dalaguete, Cebu and another 180 farmers in Argao, Cebu MUNICIPALITY OF DALAGUETE








46.65 years old

45.57 years old

0.76 ha

1.029 ha

Farming, Trading, Transport services, hauling services

Farming and trading

1.012 km.

9.78 km


Average Age Average Land Holdings Sources of Income Average distance from the main road


Distribution of OURFood Farmer Beneficiaries per Barangay in the Municipalities of Dalaguete and Argao, Province of Cebu, 2015-2017 MOUNTAIN BARANGAYS











Balde Cansuje








































Negros Occidental Farmer Beneficiary Profile Profile of farmer beneficiaries’ profile in Negros Occidental in 2015-2016 PARAMETERS


Average Age of farmers

42.5 years old

Average Landholdings

1.6 ha

Net Productive Area

1.05 ha

Sources of water Sources of Income Average distance from the main road

Natural Springs and Ground Water Farming of crops, livestocks, off farm activities 2.97 km.


Farmer Associations assisted under the OURFood Project in Negros Occidental 2015-17 FARMER ASSOCIATION



Bukidnon Organic Farmers Association (BOFA)


Patag Farmer’s Integrated Social Forestry Association (PaFISPA)


Iliranan Tribal Council (ITC)


Nagalao Vegetable Growers Association (NAVEGA)


Apog-apog Vegetable Grower’s Association (AAVEGA)


Campuestuhan Upland Farmer’s Association (CUFA)


Pambansang Mananalon, Mag uuma, Magbabaul, Magsasaka ng Pilipinas (P4MP)


Mainuswagon Guinhalo Livelihood Association


Kauswagan Crossing Waray Livelihood Association


Kanama Livelihoood Association


Kan-Iglamag Livelihood Association


Negros Oriental Farmer Beneficiary Profile Profile of farmer beneficiaries’ profile in Negros Occidental in 2015-2016 PARAMETERS


Average Age of farmers

43.91 years old

Average Landholdings

2.02 ha (1.364 ha)

Sources of water

Natural Springs and Ground Water

Sources of Income

Farming of crops, livestocks

Average distance from the main road

23.87 km.

Number of Farmer Beneficiaries in Negros Oriental under the OURFood Program per Municipality FARMER ASSOCIATION


Ayungon OURFood Farmer Association


Federated CFV Farmers Association


Integrated Community Food Production


Individual Farmers



Small Farmers’ Succes Through Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) By Ma. Vicenta Rio Right after high school, thirty one year old Andrew “Andoy” Pelomeo dreamt of seeking his future in the city to study Electronic Technology. But poverty stopped him from pursuing this dream. At the age of 17, he began work in the small farm of his father and worked as a caretaker of his uncle’s farm to earn a few bucks more. Andoy, married to Estrella Pelomeo, became a family man when he was 20 and raised his family through an average income of 1,000 to 1,500 pesos per month until he became part of the OURFood Project in 2014. Through those years, farm technology for Andoy was Spartan, copying only from the practices of other farmers in Canlaon, a vegetable growing area on the Oriental side of the Island. “Chamba-chamba kag Mato-mato” an Ilonggo term for “ \hit or miss” was how he described his farming


experience. As a caretaker of his uncle’s farm, he learned how to apply pesticides as the only guaranteed means to drive out pests. However, this took a toll on Andoy’s health after he used yellow-label pesticides and cocktails in a haphazard manner. Andoy became part of the OURFood Project in 2014 as a member of the tribal group located in the uplands of San Carlos City. As a young farmer, Andoy was among those who were dedicated and committed to learn more about farming. He went through all the trainings in Good Agriculture Practice (GAP), Monitoring and Documentation, Organic Farming, Costing and Pricing and How to deal with Buyers until he became a consolidator handling a collective of twenty (20) farmers in his area .

After the OURFood Intervention, the landscape of Andoy’s farm has changed and more significantly, his family income has increased by 300% to 500% during peak seasons. Starting with a 500-square meter farm lot, he has now expanded his production to 1.5 hectares. Andoy attributes the increase in farm production to the application of proper farm technology. From open field seed beds, he now has his own rain shelter and protected nursery that shields his crops from heavy rain and pests. Since his area is without electricity, Andoy has invested in a few solar panels to provide light for his family at night. In 2016, through a partnership with the Negrense Volunteers for Change (NVC) Foundation, one of the institutional buyers working with Association of Negros Producers, Inc. (ANP), Andoy was among the farmers who received

farm inputs and supplies of farm materials for his rain shelter. Through the Market development program of the ANP, Andoy and his farm cluster are now directly selling to bigger markets and institutional buyers where they get premium prices for their crops as compared to the traditional markets where the traders, known as “compradors” control the prices and earn more than the farmers. The potentials of Andoy have gone beyond being a farmer and farm cluster leader as is he is now a certified organic trainor of TESDA and an accredited trainor for GAP of the ANP-Foundation for Enterprise Development, Inc. (ANP-FEDI), an affilitate foundation of the ANP. He was part of the training team of OURFood Agri Technicians and farmer-leaders, who extended


Upland location and slopy areas 58

their training services to 180 farmer beneficiaries under the Sustainable Livelihood Program of the Philippine government’s Department of Social Welfare and Development ( DSWD) in 2016. While education is indispensable for many, it is not the end all and be all to being successful. Like Andrew Pelomeo, Merco Obas is also not highly schooled. But his lack of education has not deterred him from becoming more than he ever dreamt to be. An elementary school graduate who is now 40 years old, Merco established the Bukidnon Organic Farmers Association (BOFA) in September 2012 and is now one of the recognized farm leaders under the OURFOOD Project. His exposure to farming began when he was 7 years old while helping in his father’s farm together with nine (9) other siblings. At a young age, he enjoyed farm life and enjoyed going to the Poblacion to help sell their produce. There he began to learn the ropes of the trade. Like many other small farmers, Merco learned farming by experience and by copying the practices of other farmers.

Merco’s initial market exposure was mainly in the traditional wet markets of Libertad and Burgos in Bacolod City. When BOFA was included in the OURFOOD Project in 2012, Merco was among the first small farmers who was brought to Cebu City for a market encounter in one of the 5-star hotels and was given an initial exposure to supermarket chains. Having been exposed only to traditional markets, the Cebu trip was Merco’s first experience of what the real market and buyer look like . It was his first opportunity to see the face of real customers and institutional buyers. It was in this trip when Merco had the chance to listen to purchasers of institutional markets on how they buy their vegetables and the quality standards that are required. It was then that Merco began planting high-value crops like cucumber, carrots , bell peppers and ampalaya allocating 2,000 sq.m. of land per crop or a total of 1 hectare cultivated. On the side, he also started producing squash as he was going through all the trainings in GAP and its Internal Control System under OURFood. Like Andoy, Merco 59

The farmer-partners in San Carlos City, proudly displaying their award from the Provincial Government, happily pose with the 2014 Project Progress Review Team.

was among the first smallholders in the country to be GAP certified in 2015. By then, Merco began selling directly to Institutional Markets through the ANP Consolidation Center. Merco learned how transactions are done with the institutional markets and began appreciating how important having a planting calendar is when volume production is to be achieved. Since 2015, more income opportunities 60

started coming in. It was in March 2016 when Merco and his cluster had their biggest break after delivering 20 tons of squash weekly to NVC Foundation within a period of 3 months. Now Merco Obas beams with pride as a farmer and merchant. He now takes care of thirty seven (37) other small farmers belonging to three (3) farm clusters located in Barangays Brillantes,

other farmers but is now aided by his new carry all vehicle. Merco has also invested in a rain shelter and nursery, realizing that he has to safeguard his planting materials for his new markets.

Mayanan and Mina-udlot in San Carlos City. His personal farm has now expanded to a total of five (5) hectares , one hectare dedicated to high value crops; two (2) hectares for Ginger and 2 hectares for corn production. Last year, he was able to build a new house after the old one was destroyed by fire in March 2015. Today Merco no longer has to walk or use the habalhabal when collecting crops from

The OURFood legacy cannot just be quantified by the funding support. It is a partnership program that taught all the partners, including the farmers, to invest the right amount in the right areas. It has taught us how to change our approach to countryside development. It has taught us to appreciate the hardwork and sacrifices of small farmers. It has firmed up our resolve to provide them more opportunities for growth so that they can provide a better quality of life for their families. It has reminded us of the importance of supporting local farmers closest to home. 61


Transforming Food Enterprise into Food Safety Champions By Michelle A. Naranjo Gemma B. Kitane Dr. Ana Isabel V. Salacata Engr. Rendell C. Barcimo



Addressing the Food Safety Gaps Negros Oriental’s Food Safety Team Mission By Michele A. Naranjo & Gemma B. Kitane Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation & Development, as part of the interventions of the OURFood (Optimizing and Upscaling Roles in the Food Supply Chain) Project, the Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce & Industry (NOCCI) with the support of Germany’s AFOS Foundation and the Department of Science & Technology (DOST) addressed the food safety gap in Negros Oriental in 2013 by taking the initiative to screen and select high caliber and qualified professionals who were trained and organized to form the Negros

The DOST Team Food Safety trainers were instrumental in developing the NOFST consultants. 64

Oriental Food Safety Team (NOFST). With the NOCCI that nurtured the positive sustainability of the group, the NOFST has achieved dynamic interaction and cooperation among various players in the food supply chain. Since then, the NOFST has also been giving support and assistance to the Local Government Units in conducting MSME trainings and seminars on Food Safety.

Food Safety as a Mission By providing safe food “from gate to plate,” the NOFST is dedicated to enabling the food industry through food producers and consumers who execute individual and collective responsibilities in applying Current Good

Manufacturing Practices (cGMP), Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) and Food Safety Management System (FSMS): ISO 22000 procedures and systems to assure that local food products are safe and acceptable for consumption. Thus far, the NOFST has marked milestones that include the conduct of In-House Trainings to MSMEs aimed at improving the company’s food safety manpower and program. Featured in NEWS.PIA.GOV.PH last April 22, 2016, NOFST also led in the seminar-trainings on food safety awareness among 35 MSMEs and Livelihood Beneficiaries from 19 manufacturing firms in the province. The seminar aims to support and sustain the food


safety standards among food manufacturing initiatives in the province of Negros Oriental so that products are globally competitive as these enter the ASEAN or international market (http://news. pia.gov.ph/…/dost-trains-msmeson-basic-food-sa…) To date, NOFST has successfully delivered Food Safety Trainings among Livelihood Beneficiaries and Representatives from the Local Government Units of Negros Oriental as it is actively collaborating with these government stakeholders in the neighboring towns of Dumaguete, Siaton, Bayawan, Basay, San Jose, Amlan, Tanjay, Bais, Mabinay, Bindoy, Ayungon, Pamplona, Vallahermoso and Canlaon. Food Safety engagements with NGOs and people’s organizations include the BLISCOFA, LCP, Womens organization in Bayawan, Tempura and Balot Vendors of Dumaguete, Fisherfolks of Bindoy and Ayungon and BASCOFADCO. Moreover, these NOFST Food Safety Trainings 66

and Seminars are in coordination with Silliman University, NORSU, Foundation University, St. Paul’s University, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Neg. Or. Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO), NOCCI and DOST trained students as well as employees from Food Services and MSMEs.

final distribution of food products. The problem lies with limited understanding of basic hygienic practices of both the food handlers who prepare and sell food and the consumers who buy the food (WHO, 2015). This is one of the major challenges of NOFST as it reaches out to Negros Oriental MSMEs.

NOCCI Executive Director John Jalandoni opens the Food Safety Awareness Training conducted by the Negros Oriental Food Safety Team at the Silliman University, Dumaguete City.

A Major Challenge Food producers are predominantly responsible for food contamination from the production stage to the

Philippine Presidential Decree No. 856 or the Sanitation Code of the Philippines, Section 14 states that “no person or entity shall operate a food establishment for public patronage without securing a permit from the local health office. Guided by this declaration, the committed NOFST assisted MSMES on “Current Good Manufacturing Practices” (cGMP) in coordination with AFOS and DOST, at DOSTPSTC in Daro, Dumaguete City. The participants are the production personnel of BLISCOFA and BASCOFADCO Cooperatives (Virgin Coconut Oil), DM`s MaisMalunggay-Turmeric Health Drink, Lolo`s Finest Coco Sugar, Zigmund 67

Calamansi Concentrate with Honey, Massive Munchies Meat Pie and Vegidri Dried Malunggay Tea, among others. As a business practice, it is now expected that producers who adopt food safety practices decrease the possible risk of losses in both product and income. It is also important that food producers abide by food safety standards to cater to the growing demands of customers. With this in mind, the NOFST coached companies in improving the quality and safety of their product. Through the team`s coaching program, MSMEs are aligned and become compliant with the national standards and hence, receive their Licenseto-Operate (LTO), among other certifications. This boosts the marketability of their products, both locally and internationally. These MSMEs are: SGH Coconut Product Manufacturing (Virgin Coconut Oil), and Lolo’s Finest Coco Sugar. Other food manufacturers like Mountain Dairy, JK Lalicious


(Food Pasalubong Items), Zigmound Enterprises (Calamansi Juice), BLISCOFA (Virgin Coconut Oil), DMs Health Drink and Lynnx Fruit Wine Products are already preparing for an LTO application.

The NOFST Commitment The achievements of NOFST in making its vision a reality have been made possible through its robust team members. However, there is more to be done and more to be accomplished to be able to say that, indeed, Negros Oriental is a “food safe” province. The team, therefore, is looking forward to replicate these Food Safety Seminar-Trainings and other coaching plans in other cities and municipalities among MSMEs in Negros Oriental. MSMEs play one of the most vital roles in the country’s economic growth as they stimulate and influence the gainful creation of job opportunities among the locals. MSMEs are also agile in their ability to produce contemporary products with

novel designs and transport these competitively to marketplaces. Moreover, “MSMEs can act as the seedbed for the development of entrepreneurial skills and innovation. They play an important part in the provision of services in the community. They can make an important contribution to regional development programs (http://

server2.dti.gov.ph/dti/index.ph).� Change cannot happen overnight and food safety training among MSMEs cannot happen just once. Yet NOFST believes that the seed has been planted among MSMEs to value the genuine commitment of upholding Filipino products as safe for human consumption. The team thus envisions to expand its pool of experts and create more partnerships with LGUs and NGAs for the sustenance of the programs and projects. From Negros Oriental to the world, NOFST is indeed committed to transform Food Enterprises into Food Safety Champions:


The Negrense Food Consultancy Group By Ana Maria Isabel Villanueva-Salacata, M.D. In 2012, OurFood Coordinator for Negros Occidental, Marivic Rio, approached me and asked if I would like to help out in a new group that is being formed by the Association of Negros Producers with AFOS Foundation. She mentioned the words “Food Safety� and as a friend, I agreed. Little did I know that I would be a part of an incredible advocacy that has transformed the landscape of consumer rights in the province and especially the city of Bacolod. The exciting first year involved recruiting an assortment of professionals from the fields of medicine, food technology, engineering, architecture, science, food processing, local entrepreneurs and the academe. Training was methodical with all of us learning about existing laws 70

like Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) for food processors (A.O. 153) and Sanitation Code of the Philippines (P.D. 856). We learned about the basics of food safety such as proper handwashing and personal hygiene to the more scientific courses in the microbiology of food-borne illnesses. Hands-on training in a culinary academy as well as many field trips to companies made us appreciate how important food safety was in our daily lives. The subsequent years saw our group add two more batches and more advanced trainings to include Lean Manufacturing, ISO 22000 or Food Safety Management Systems, ISO 14000 or Environmental Management System, benchmarking trips to Cebu, Davao, Thailand and Germany. We have established close ties with key governmental agencies like the Department of Science and Technology, which is a keen partner in acknowledging that assisting their clients in food processing also requires that they have to be trained and must follow food safety standards.

The Negrense Food Consultancy Group in a regular meeting to discuss team operations.

We are also extremely proud of the relationship between our group and the hard-working government officials of Bacolod City. The city is the first Local Government Unit (LGU) to pass a Food Safety Ordinance that is aligned with the National Food Safety Act of 2013, through the diligent work of

former Councilor Jocelle BatapaSigue. Our group will continue to assist our legislators to strengthen laws and ordinances that improve the standards of food safety for our area. We continue to promote Bacolod City as a food destination and what better way to serve the community than to


help food service establishments be compliant with food safety standards? Advocacy is strong in the most ardent members of the group, especially since the group is now under the Foundation for Enterprise Development of ANP. We all realize that despite being volunteers, we are providing a service that benefits the greater good. After assisting in more than 90 companies in the provinces of Negros Occidental, Iloilo, Capiz,


Antique, Aklan and Guimaras, the team has in a small way, made a difference in providing food processing companies and food service establishments, the knowledge and training to improve their procedures and facilities in order to provide clean and safe food for the region. Despite the remaining and oftentimes daunting challenges, the Negrense Food Consultancy Group remains dedicated to the improvement of food safety for our province and the rest of Region 6.


Food Safety Compliance Opens Market Opportunities for Muscovado Mill By Engr. Rendell C. Barcimo 74

Nestled inside the 24-hectare Hacienda Elsa is Baldomero-Maria Milling Company (BMMC), a muscovado mill established by Concepcion Poblador. Due to the rise in consumer demand for healthy foods, BMMC aims to revive the authentic production of muscovado and hopefully bring it back to its golden age, and to provide the best quality gold standard muscovado in the market. Sugarcane juice is extracted from sugarcane using a motor-driven heavy-duty sugar crusher from Glasgow, Scotland installed in 1902. The extracted juice is filtered and cooked in vats to evaporate the water until it turns into syrup. Continuous stirring transforms the syrup into granules

of brown-colored muscovado. In a cycle, BMMC produces 2600 sacks of artisanal, single-origin premium muscovado sugar. BMMC’s muscovado has a delicate caramel-like sweetness, cinnamon-like aroma, and golden color, thus it is marketed under the brand Muscovado Gold. BMMC today is far from what it was when it started. Wooden tables, bamboo walls, unscreened windows and doors, workers without protective garments were the norm when they started. Likewise, the company had problems marketing their product due to lack of licenses, permits, and certifications. However, the


The factory of Baldomero-Maria Milling Company (BMMC)


owner’s commitment to quality, continuous improvement, and food safety transformed the company to what it is today. Mrs. Poblador tapped the help of the Association of Negros Producers (ANP) and its training arm, ANP-Foundation for Enterprise Development, Inc. (ANP-FEDI) to help her transform her company. Luckily, around the same time, ANP and ANP-FEDI, together with Germany’s AFOS Foundation for Entrepreneurial Development Cooperation, were embarking on a new project, OURFood. The OURFood Project in Negros Occidental gave birth to the Negrense Food Consultancy Group (NFCG), a group of professionals coming from different fields and disciplines, whose primary function is to give training and consultancy services on food safety and food technology to food processing MSMEs in Negros Occidental. BMMC was one of the first clients and believers of NFCG. BMMC availed of the different training and consultancy services of NFCG including GMP Assessment, Training and Documentation, HACCP Training and Documentation, and Es77


tablishment of Traceability System. With the intervention of NFCG, dramatic changes were seen in the systems and practices of BMMC. Wooden tables were replaced with stainless steel tables, bamboo walls were changed with smooth concrete walls, doors and windows are screened, employees looked smart in their uniform and protective garments. Aside from the changes in infrastructure, BMMC also worked on the intangibles, that is establishing a food safety management system that works for the company. The two organizations seem to have the relationship of a parent and a child, NFCG guided BMMC in its baby steps towards standards compliance. Because of the efforts of the company, the full coopera-

tion of all the employees, and with the guidance of NFCG, BMMC was able to get its License to Operate and Certificate of Product Registration from the Philippine Food and Drug Administration. Muscovado Gold is also listed in the Worldwide Directory of Sanitarily Approved Food Establishments for Armed Forces Procurement. Standards compliance has opened markets and doors of opportunity for BMMC. Muscovado Gold is being served in fine dining restaurants in Manila and some restaurants in Paris. It is also being sold in premier fine food specialty stores, health food stores, and US Army stores around the world.



OURFood Changes the Game By Jeanette C. Patindol



OURFood Changes the GAME By Jeanette C. Patindol OURFood’s story started with deeply curious questions. Why is it that in a country of abundant natural resources— fertile soil, sufficient water all around and vast uncultivated lands-- farmers still remain poor? If food is a basic need, and the primary producers of food are farmers, how come that in a country of more than 100 million people, with 90% of the country’s economy dependent on food manufacturing and 40% of the food industry composed of micro and small-to-medium scale enterprises (MSMEs), fresh food bought by


institutional buyers and up to 85% of certain food retail commodities are still imported? How is it that only 82 farms in the Philippines are GAP (General Agricultural Practice) certified, when there are 230,000 GAPcertified farms in Thailand? Even if Thailand has 22 million hectares of land devoted to agriculture, while the Philippines has only around 12 million hectares, why is the difference in the ratio of GAPcertified farms to agricultural land between them still very huge? What will happen to the food industry and economy in the Philippines now with the ASEAN economic integration? These, and many other questions, led to more questions and the search for answers. The AFOS OURFood Team tackles coordination concerns of its partner BMOs. 83

Backstory OURFood was conceptualized following this search for answers, when the German AFOS Foundation for Entrepreneurial Development Cooperation was wrapping up its 3-year chamber and association program in the Visayas and Caraga in 2009-2012. This chamber and association program, with financial support from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), was to enhance the internal management structures of 8 business membership organizations (BMOs) such as chambers of commerce and industry in regions VI, VII, VIII and XIII to be able to provide more effective structural support to industry clusters covering the traditional economic activities in their respective provinces. Although regional capitals like Cebu, Bacolod and Dumaguete have emerging service sectors, most BMOs were still situated in 84

traditional economic structures rooted in agriculture. Because of this, a significant section of the populations the BMOs are in live below the poverty threshold of around P263 a day as of 2012, earning average incomes of only P130 per day, which is not even sufficient to cover for the food threshold of around P183 per day. Then, too, with educational and industry job skills mismatch in these regions, where young people are basically trained for overseas employment, a lot of formal education graduates cannot find jobs in their regions that require their qualifications and skills, thus exacerbating unemployment. Agricultural employment makes up 32% of total employment in the Philippines. These realities led the Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental and Cebu BMOs to choose to focus on the agribusiness sector for industry structural support. Without support for the poor and marginalized in their areas, the

communities they serve cannot flourish. They agreed that by helping to strengthen the weakest, everyone else becomes stronger as well. Initial ground information revealed that the farmers were trapped in a culture of debt to the compradors (traders), coupled with lack of updated knowledge in farming technology, business management and marketing, which led to low farm yields at low farm prices, high product spoilage, and seemingly no way out from the vicious cycles they have been born into. From these stark realities, the vision of breaking these cycles by leveling up the farmers’ capabilities emerged. How can their productivity be increased so they earn more incomes, and break out of the debt-trap with the compradors? How can their farm products be linked to good markets so they are assured of ready buyers? What do good food markets require? From these questions came the realization that it is not only

the farmers who needed to be upscaled in their capabilities but also all the subsequent participants in the food supply chain—food processors, those in logistics and trade, and even food consumers. The quality of the questions one asks determines the quality of the answers one finds. These deeper, more focused set of questions and realizations led to the forming of the OURFood idea, which, as the name suggests, is about “Optimizing and Upscaling Roles in the Food Supply Chain”.

Bigger Realities During this time, ASEAN integration was already being discussed, with the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC)’s formal integration just three years away. Under the 4 pillars of the AEC Blueprint, food, agriculture and forestry reform is under the 1st pillar on forming a single market and production base, along with reforms on priority integration sectors and the freer flow of goods, 85

services, investments, and skilled labor. Consumers’ rights protection is under the 2nd pillar on making ASEAN a competitive economic region, while small and medium enterprises (SME) development is a strategic reform platform under the 3rd pillar on equitable economic development. The 4th pillar is on ASEAN integration into the global economy. With an outbreak in global food prices in 2007-08, especially rice prices in the region, the issue of food security in the ASEAN was also a priority discussion topic. This led the ASEAN Food Security Reserve Board (AFSRB) to organize a rice trade forum in Siem Reap in 2012, another forum on rice selfsufficiency in Yogyakarta in 2013, and an Asian Food Trade Forum in November 2015. Given this context, a Focus on the Global South Report assessed that in the Philippines, Filipinos have yet to fully realize their Right to Food given “a lack of a national right to food framework and strategy, conflicting laws and 86

policies especially on land use and trade liberalization, anemic implementation of agrarian reform and protection of indigenous peoples’ rights, a systematic neglect of the agriculture sector over the last three decades, and lack of coherent climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction strategies.” In the same Report, every person’s Right to Food is emphasized, citing the United Nations definition as “the right to have regular, permanent and unrestricted access, either directly or by means of financial purchase, to quantitatively and qualitatively adequate and sufficient food corresponding to the cultural traditions of the people to which the consumer belongs, and which ensure a physical and mental, individual and collective, fulfilling and dignified life free of fear.” The universal Right to Food has 5 dimensions: availability, economic and physical accessibility, adequacy, food safety and sustainability.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Philippines had the highest prevalence of food inadequacy among Asia’s “tiger cub economies” from 2005 to 2012. Around a quarter of Filipinos claimed to be food insecure in a National Nutrition Survey conducted in 2011. Various nutritional and feeding programs have been implemented by the government and the private sector to alleviate this condition, but there is still a lack of a national plan for addressing all the dimensions of every Filipino’s Right to Food, not just food adequacy. There are national laws and regulations involving food safety. There is the 1975 DOH Presidential Decree No. 856, also known as the Code of Sanitation of the Philippines, which is the standard by which all food-service establishments should comply with to obtain a Sanitary Permit from their respective local government units. There is also the 2004 Department of Health (DOH) Administrative

Order 153 (A.O. 153) that establishes the framework for insuring Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) in Philippine food processing plants, regardless of their size. However, these have not been strictly observed, with MSMEs finding it a challenge to strictly abide by these--especially on GMP-- due to economies of scale constraints, as well as a general lack of awareness and knowledge. Around the time OURFood was already launched, Republic Act No. 10611 (RA 10611) , or the Food Safety Act of the Philippines, was passed in 2013, with the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the DOH as main implementing agencies, and the Department of Local Government (DILG) and local government units (LGUs) as monitoring agencies. However, inadequate government resources constrain the full implementation and monitoring of the Food Safety Act. At the local levels, it was only through OURFood’s advocacy that the 87

Bacolod Food Safety Ordinance 2016-- a first local ordinance on food safety in the country-- was passed. The ordinance requires food handlers to participate in a mandatory food safety course before sanitary permits are issued. In September 2017, stakeholders at the Food Safety Awareness Forum at the Negros Occidental Provincial Capitol pushed for the creation of a Provincial Food Safety Development Council to ensure stronger implementation of the Food Safety Law in the province.

First Steps In preparing for the setting up of OURFood, the project partners engaged in organizational planning activities and meetings with individuals and associations involved in the organic and food processing sectors, to understand the local food industry better.


They also commissioned market studies of local agricultural products, in preparation for smallholders’ market entrance. Information from institutional retailers and buyers, like the Metro Gaisano chain and the hospitality industry in Cebu who offered their cooperation, revealed that they also intended to undergo structural changes in their product sourcing, preferring fresh, locally sourced high-value crops produced in compliance with food quality and sustainability standards, along with good prices and volumes. Inventories of local resources and value supply chain mapping were also completed. This led to further contextualizing the realities of the food industry sector in the three provinces, and identifying gaps and weaknesses in the structures, with the clearer vision now of maximizing farmers’ and MSMEs’ income opportunities in the light of ASEAN economic integration.

These initial steps further confirmed the first realization of the need for the leveling up in capabilities of everyone involved. The OURFood Project intent was concretized: to show that qualification along the entire food supply chain can support all stakeholders at the same time.

The OURFood Model Since food safety is the language of the food trade, OURFood is essentially about developing synergy in the whole food supply chain towards this end-- from farmers to food processors to logistics and trade links to the institutional buyers and final consumers in the market. The OURFood model involves training and qualification with constant monitoring to upscale participants (farmers, processors, logistics and trade) in the food supply chain to global standards, with advocacy and sustainability by BMOs in collaboration with public and private sectors for sustainability, and operating within the framework of fulfilling market

criteria (quality, volume, price, food safety and sustainability).

Key elements of the OURFood model are: 1. funding support, both from AFOS – Foundation for Entrepreneurial Development and Cooperation and local partners; 2. trainings of core members first, then of target partners; 3. a qualifications system; 4. formation and activation of the Food Consultancy Groups (FCGs); 5. partnership and collaboration with various needed sectors (farmers, food processors, logistics and trade links, institutional buyers, BMOs, culinary skills training centers, government agencies and LGUs, consumer groups and the media); 6. consumer awareness advocacy; and 7. working for legislation and other forms of government support.



One of the staunch believers of the OURFood approach, Congresswoman Josy Sy Limkaichong of Negros Oriental. 91

A private sector-led and LGUsupported program, OURFood is characterized by a high level of passionate volunteerism among its core members, dynamic collaborative relationships forged and built with partners over time, and the active role of BMOs in ensuring its sustainability. The first endeavors were crucial in providing important learning and developing out-of-the-box strategies as solutions. The first initiatives in reaching out to farmers highlighted the importance of softening farmers’ resistance to GAP by providing them with proof of almost immediate results, supporting the talk with prompt tangible benefits. The farmers who underwent the initial GAP trainings and applied what they learned to their farms soon saw increased farm yields. In addition to this, the Association of Negros Producers Inc. (ANP) operated a consolidation center to use its resources and networks in linking these farmers to premium markets. With ready 92

buyers, farmers experienced the added incentive of continuing their farm productivity improvement endeavors. The first initiatives in reaching out to food processors highlighted the significance of developing local food consultants and experts to form the Food Consultancy Groups, due to lack of local qualified trainers and the high costs of inviting non-local experts. What would have been major stumbling blocks became stepping stones for pushing the OURFood agenda forward, which also revealed the dynamic creativity and solutions-focused approach of OURFood members and partners. These strategies, in turn, led to the

MOU Signing among DOST, AFOS and OURFood Partners CCCI, ANP and NOCCI.

ideas of linking the institutional buyers to the farmers and linking with the DOST for GMP assessment of food processors, which then led to conducting company-level trainings, linking with other government agencies and LGUs, and pursuing food safety awareness advocacy among the general public.

and collaboration OURFood’s coordinating partner BMOs are the Association of Negros Producers (ANP), the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), and the Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NOCCI).

Partnership networking


Its farmer groups are the Dalaguete Vegetable Growers Association (DAVEGA), the Patag Farmers Integrated Social Forestry Association (PaFISFA), the Bukidnon Organic Farmers’ Association (BOFA), and the Iliran Tribal Council (ITC), NagalaoApog-Apog Vegetable Growers Association ( NAVEGA) , Federated Conservation Farming Villages (FCSV-OURFOOD) and Ayungon OURFood Farmers Association. The first LGUs to have allocated budgets for the small farmers were the Negros Oriental municipalities of La Libertad covering 13 upland barangays which have only dirt roads for access, and of Ayungon covering 6 barangays. Their local chief executives, La Libertad Mayor Immanuel Iway and Ayungon Mayor Edcel Enardecido, are always present in all their activities. OURFood’s Food Consultancy Groups (FCGs) are the Cebu Food DOST National Food Safety Coordinator, Dr. Anthony Sales, was among the first national government officials to lend his support to OURFood. 94

Consultancy Group, the Negrense Food Consultancy Group, and the Negros Oriental Food Safety Team. Its technical partners are the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) who supported the first batch of training for local consultants as well as continuous project engagement of the FCGs for local food enterprises and the Bacolod Academy of Culinary Arts (BACA) and the Philippine School for Culinary Arts (PSCA) for food technology training.

Challenges and lessons learned The main challenge OURFood faced is in changing mindsets towards upscaling, so people can then sustainably change their ways of doing things. Acceptance, trust, and cooperation. AFOS Project Manager for OURFood, Dietmar Speckmaier, shares, “At the beginning of the project, the acceptance of GAP standards among farmers was very low. It took the project management quite a long time to convince

the participating farmers that compliance to a national standard is the right way to towards success and to penetrate new markets. It was difficult for the farmers to comply with GAP requirements (e.g. Food Safety, occupational health, environment, traceability, quality) and to adopt at the same time entrepreneurial skills (such as costing and pricing and farm planning) as they were used to a trial and error way of planting.” By convincing farmers to undergo training, and encouraging them to apply their learning from the training in their farms while also providing them with technical support, then linking the farmers-with the help of partner BMOS-to market their products and find new markets for their products, acceptance, trust and cooperation developed. This resulted to the participating farmer associations’ increasing their product sales by more than 300% from 2014 – 2017, with a total of 1,105 farmers trained in Food Safety, GAP requirements, and entrepreneurial skills; and 95

more than 600 farmers GAPcertified and organized into 10 Farmer associations. Speckmaier also shares, “It was difficult to convince farmers to participate on one hand, and to make them reliable on the other hand. Everything was very pricedriven. If farmers could earn 1 peso more per kg product, they would immediately shift to other markets, leaving a big gap to existing demands arranged by the BMOs. It took huge efforts to create this atmosphere of trust between farmers, farmer associations, and partner BMOs and to work towards a more sustainable market. Other key challenges OURFood faced dealt with the natural growing pains of a new project, networking, and sustainability. Balancing technical requirements and people’s needs. Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry Executive Director May Elizabeth Ybañez, shares, “The food value chain--the framework of the Project -- was technical


specialist-formulated with little to almost negligible participatory analysis done. Moreover, since the implementation was divided between two ‘operational’ units, i.e., agriculture and manufacturing, there was almost no interface or few interactions between the two. This gap resulted to an over-all lack of understanding and hence, little appreciation among key stakeholders, bordering on almost lack of ownership by the Chamber at the start. Telltale signs of the effect of this was a largely ‘project’ treatment of the intervention. To catch up, several benchmarking (were) done to enhance knowledge. Unlike the early project benchmarking, the recent benchmarking included processing of learnings.” Additionally, she shares, “The focus on the food consultancy group which provided the technical assistance to the manufacturing and service sectors in the food industry, while justified in the early phase of the project, was almost

overwhelmingly prolonged into the second phase. And yet, not all trained members were available to serve and provide inputs as trainers that would have made the food consultancy groups fully functional. Perhaps, the training inputs where mainly technical and failed to evoke commitment to the cause. To overcome this, the Chamber provided mentoring to evoke entrepreneurial sense and shifted the mode of engagement to individuals in the group rather than as a group.” Sustainability of Food Consultancy Groups (FCGs). Speckmaier explains, “The approach of OURFOOD to implement a service under the partner BMOs and to create and train a pool of independent food safety consultants was quite daring and challenging. It will also continue to be a quite challenging endeavor. “ The results show that the challenge is being addressed effectively.  So far, more than

100 food safety consultants have been trained and qualified to work as consultants and render services to food processing companies. More than 150 food companies have been assisted through the services rendered by the BMOs from 2014 to 2017; and a turnover of more than P6M has been made through the food safety consultancy services at NOCCI, ANP and CCCI from 2014 to 2017. “In some cases, the income generated sufficed to hire local (BMO) staff and to expand the portfolio of services,” Speckmaier reports. Cooperation of local and national partners. Speckmaier also reveals that “it was difficult at the beginning to make OURFood known and to advertise it to local and national partners. The project staff of OURFood, together with the partner BMOs, made huge efforts to make partners aware of the program. A huge number of visits were paid to


local and national partners to seek cooperation for the program in order to help more food processors and farmers in the project area. At the end of the project, a total contribution from local and national partners of more than P16M has been allocated to make the program more effective. The degree of contribution also showed that the partners were interested to participate in the program and, in some cases, the partners even took the lead in the implementation of OURFood. In terms of sustainability this was a very satisfactory experience for the project management.”


According to Speckmaier, “The situation in the Philippines in regard to certification is quite sobering: only approximately 82 farms now are PHIL-GAP certified (GAP is a market requirement); and only approximately 5% of food processors have a license to operate.”

Ybañez also shares from the BMO perspective that “early on, it was difficult to secure interest and participation from the manufacturing sector. Perhaps this was due to insufficient marketing with the succinct person in the company. With more purposive marketing, participation levels are increasing.”

He lists the reasons for this situation: “lack of awareness among producers and consumers; lack of assistance; development of standards take place without active participation of the private sector; unified food legislation does not make a difference between the micro, small, medium and large companies. The requirements for all producers are the same irrespective of size. This is  quite unfair and not practiced in other countries where micro and small producers would fall under a less restricted food legislation (e.g. artisanal products in Germany); and reluctance of regulatory bodies to delegate responsiblity to the private sector.”

Dealing with regulatory bodies.

OURFood, together with the

partner BMOs, addressed these reasons through raising food safety awareness as a focused advocacy, in addition to its other endeavors. Speckmaier reports, “The food safety conference 2016 in Cebu with more than 450 participants was the most successful event during the Cebu Business Month. At the same time, OURFood, together with partner BMOs and LGUs, was able to pass food safety ordinances to consider the difficulties and challenges for micro and small producers in regard to food safety requirements.” Two national Food Safety Conferences were also held in Bacolod City in June 2015 and in July 2017. Lessons learned. Key learning from the OURFood project is best summarized and encapsulated in the OURFood Principles highlighted it its website-• “speak one language

• learn from each other • share and spread the benefits • level playing field: fair competition • all people are created equal: from farmer to trader • common rules, common goal, better business relations • observe TRANSPARENCY through all levels • no documentation, no proof, no money • activities do not signify results • be honest, self-critical and open • speak your truth quietly and clearly • we need somebody’s passion

Game change and Synergy OURFood’s key tangible results are three-pronged: providing economic benefits to food supply chain participants; promoting environmental benefits through preservation of farm lands; and provision of quality, food-safe produce for the consuming public. From a broader and long-term 99

perspective, though, OURFood is also upholding consumers’ rights by facilitating structural transformation in the food supply chain and raising the food supply chain’s ability to deliver all the 5 dimensions of everyone’s universal Right to Food. Because of this structural transformation in the food supply chain and the increase in the participants’ capabilities to be more so they can do more, OURFood is helping promote authentic development, based on 1998 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences Amartya Sen’s Capabilities Approach to development. The Capabilities Approach revolves around people and sees development as an expansion of their capabilities based on 3 fundamental values: life sustenance, self-esteem, and freedom from servitude and


poverty. Through OURFood, participants experience increased economic benefits, grow in their confidence as they grow in their capabilities and build solid relationships, and become more empowered as they push the agenda of food safety forward in society. Merriam-Webster defines a gamechanger as “a newly introduced element or factor that changes an existing situation or activity in a significant way. “ In this context, OURFood has already proven to be a significant game-changer of note, given its only 5 years of existence since 2012. Game-changers are pulled by a clear vision, are self-aware, challenge the norm, take risks, build solid relationships, are driven by market intelligence, are flexible, adaptive, proactive, innovative and committed, and understand the

value of serving something bigger than themselves. This “something bigger than themselves” is only created when there is synergy, because synergy is basically the creation of a whole that is bigger than the sum of its parts. This new whole-- the Cebu, Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental food industries moving towards more integration and raising their capabilities to do more by being more, is what the journey of OURFood members and partners has been about.

Abstract About OURFood. (2013). AFOS Foundation. Cebu City, Philippines. May.


AFOS Foundation for Entrepreneurial Development Cooperation. (2016). AFOS Quarterly Review. Cebu City, Philippines: Author. Issue 4, Vol. 5. 4th Quarter. Agra, V. J. (2013). What is Amartya Sen’s “Capability Approach” to development? Issues of India. Sept. 6. Retrieved from https://socialissuesindia.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/ what-is-amartya-sens-capability-approach-to-development/ Asian Development Bank. (n.d.). ASEAN Food Trade Forum: How can ASEAN become more resilient to food crises under the ASEAN Economic Community? Retrieved from https://www.adb. org/sites/default/files/related/36183/aftf-overview.pdf Country STATPhilippines. (2012). Philippine agriculture in figures. Retrieved from http:// countrystat.psa.gov.ph/?cont=3&yr=2012 Department of Trade and Industry. (2014). Overview of the ASEAN Economic Community (2015) presentation file Rodriguez, Fritzie. (2015). How food insecurity threatens us. Rappler. Sept. 1. Retrieved from https://www. rappler.com/move-ph/51726-food-security-philippines Focus on The Global South. (2015). Right


to Food and food security in the Philippines: What the numbers say. February 23. Retrieved from https://focusweb. org/content/right-food-and-food-security-philippines-what-numbers-say Gopalakrishna, B.V. and Leelavathi, D. S. (2012). Amartya Sen’s contribution to human development. Retrieved from http://www. mbainfoline.com/Articles%20on%20Management/-%20New%20Folder/AmartyaSens%20Contribution%20to%20Human%20 Development.htm Nicavera, Erwin. (2015). Bacolod to host 1st Food Safety Conference in Visayas. Sunstar Bacolod. June 8. Retrieved from http://www.sunstar.com.ph/bacolod/lifestyle/2015/06/08/bacolod-host-1st-foodsafety-conference-visayas-411931 Nicavera, Erwin. (2017). Creation of Food Safety Dev’t. Council pushed. Sunstar Bacolod. Retrieved from http://www.sunstar. com.ph/bacolod/business/2017/09/13/ creation-food-safety-devt-councilpushed-563879 OURFood. (n.d.) Re-


trieved from https://ourfoodph.org/ Philippine Statistics Authority. (2015). Poverty Statistics of the Philippines (Full Year 2015). Retrieved from https://www. psa.gov.ph/sites/default/files/2015%20 Full%20Year%20Official%20Poverty%20 Statistics%20of%20the%20Philippines%20 Publication.pdf Schumacher, Henry J. (2016). ASEAN economic integration: Effect on sectors. The Freeman. January 8. Retrieved from http://www.philstar.com/cebu-business/2016/01/08/1540433/asean-economic-integration-effect-sectors Sunstar Bacolod. (2017). Nat’l food safety confab set in Bacolod. Author. Retrieved from http://www.mbainfoline.com/Articles%20on%20Management/-%20New%20 Folder/AmartyaSens%20Contribution%20 to%20Human%20Development.htm



The Role of the BMO in Sustainability May Elizabeth S. Ybañez Doreen Alicia Peña Ma. Vicenta P. Rio



The Role of the BMO in Sustainability By May Elizabeth S. Ybanez, CCCI The Role of the BMO in Sustainability Business Membership Organizations (BMOs) especially business chambers can be effective service providers of industries and sectors at various segments of their viable value chains. After all, chambers are a natural aggrupation of business owners and entrepreneurs who share interests and matters that impact the business community and the locality’s economic development. It is therefore no surprise that in Cebu, the OURFOOD Project with the AFOS Foundation for Entrepreneurial Development Cooperation is on its way to becoming an organic program of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce OURFood Project Manager Dietmar Speckmaier believes in BMOs as a vehicle for sustainability, given the right support. 106

The CCCI Management Team led by Executive Director May Elizabeth S. Ybanez will see to the sustainability of the OURFood initiatives.

and Industry. This is so because the interventions from farm to fork in the food value chain are relevant most especially in a fast growing metropolis that draws its food supply from the countryside in the island Province of Cebu and therefore justifiable and defensible

to a Chamber where the business owners and entrepreneurs have voluntarily come together to also strengthen the food value chain. The Cebu business community is populated with those engaged in the processed food production and food service and with it a growing 107

consumer market that is selective for safe and preferably organic food. The last few years of experience having to do with food safety in the farm, food manufacturing and service sectors unfolded a workable service piloted and offered by Cebu Chamber not only for its members but for the larger community as well. This is a perfect fit with the thrust of Cebu Chamber generated during strategic planning sessions in 2016 and 2017, respectively, to “bring business to the next level” and of “Cebu Chamber: Strengthening business. Accelerating change.” This means that one of the priority sustainability domains, namely, the internal policy support within CCCI has been bridged. This finds expression in the OURFOOD Modules of GAP, GMP, HACCP and Food technology. These substantiate the ladderized learning modules of Cebu Chamber where programs are focused for new entrants and micro


business players as well as for stabilizing and growing enterprises and those for expanding-beyondCebu corporations. Furthermore, the business model developed and tested under the OURFOOD Project promises to become self-sustaining and viable. It does not only offer the modular trainings and mentoring by the Chamber’s Cebu Food Consultancy Group (CFCG) and/or other local experts but also features special courses designed and offered to tailor fit the needs of specific industries. In other words, it is multi-faceted and will not only cater for those with appetite for learning but more so for those whose priority is to be certified and hence, competitive in the global economy. The latter is a market need that compels the chamber to continue to cater the service. It helps that trainings is one of the supplementary sources of revenue and a major activity of the Cebu Chamber.

To ensure the continuity and sustainability of operations including the OURFood Project even in the face of yearly changing administrations, the Cebu Chamber is manned by a permanent secretariat composed of 20 full-time staff headed by an Executive Director. This set-up is supplemented by contractual employees and experience in managing individual and corporate consultants including the Cebu Food Consultancy Group. Having a permanent and professional secretariat allows Cebu chamber to crystallize the dreams, vision, mission and goals of the organization in general and its food safety/certified members in particular.

quality management system maintained since 2007. This means that on top of the yearly fiscal audit is the yearly external audit of the systems, processes to ensure that the international standards continue to be upheld and enhanced if needed. The Certification International Philippine conducts the annual surveillance to evaluate conformity of the management system to specified requirements for continued certification. As Cebu Chamber demands on itself quality management, it becomes more credible to advocate among members of the business community the elements of food safety, international standards and all.

Partnerships with local and international, private and public institutions over the years have strengthened the track record and trust with Cebu Chamber including over financial transactions. This is further nurtured by the Chamber’s ISO 9001:3008 certification for

Having said all the above, we can conclude that the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry is a worthy and proven vessel of the OURFood Project – values in the standards it has set, systems in the services offered and decent reputation in its performance rendered.


ANP Expands Role Through the OURFood Project By Doreen Alicia PeĂąa & Ma. Vicenta Rio

Since the sugar crisis in the mid 80s, Negros Occidental has been talking about diversification but the economy remained dependent on the sugar industry up to this day. For more than three (3) decades, the Association of 110

Negros Producers (ANP) continues to find and develop alternative industries for the province. Nowhere has its mission become more relevant than ever as it ventures into AGRICULTURE focusing on High-value crops (HVC).

By history, the Association of Negros Producers (ANP) was set up as a nonstock, non-profit organization whose main goal was to help entrepreneurs manage their business and give them a marketing platform where they can expose their products to bigger markets. Being a one product island which only knew how to plant and grow sugarcane, it was a tough time for many start-up entrepreneurs. Admittedly, majority of the people from Negros from all strata are not innately entrepreneurial. We learned the hard way but… we did learn. Luckily, there were a lot of fellow Ilonggos in other parts of the Philippines that extended their helping hand and patronized our products since we launched the first Negros Trade Fair. Many believed in our cause, which was to provide more jobs in the island. Thus, we have become the first organization to hold a provincial trade fair in Metro Manila. We now can claim the throne as the BMO that manages the longest running provincial trade fair in Manila. The birth of the OURFood project in 2012 made ANP re-think of the socioeconomic status of the province and

realize the significant and crucial role of AGRICULTURE if it were to embark on a more sustainable and inclusive economic growth. As Agriculture impacts the entire food industry from food processors to food service, it offers enormous potential in creating market opportunities and higher labor absorption. Lessons from the OURFood project led ANP to expand its horizons. With six (6) small farmers’ group now under its care, ANP ventured into Consolidation and Fresh retail outlet for high value crops to link small farmers to premium markets. Operations began in 2015 with a supermarket in Cebu which eventually expanded to more local supermarkets and a processing company. In a span of one year, the small farmers were able to increase their monthly income to more than three hundred percent (300%) Among ANP’s biggest tasks is interfacing and coordination with various government agencies and private institutions that our small farmers’ may be assisted in terms of production expansion and market


expansion. ANP, together with the ANP-Foundation For Enterprise Development Inc. (an affiliate organization under the ANP umbrella) continues to engage in dialogue and activities to deliver a more efficient use of resources ; to deliver better information, coordination and other externalities which small farmers do not have access to. The revival of ANP-FEDI as an affiliate of the Association of Negros Producers (ANP) was triggered by the OURFood Project after realizing the urgent need to support and sustain the upgrading of our local entrepreneurs, farmers and industry sectors through trainings, standardization and qualification to ensure sustainability, competitiveness and innovation. Through the assistance of AFOS Foundation, a German Foundation of Catholic Entrepreneurs and COMPETE, a wider range of modules on Business Skills Development, Food Safety Management, Agriculture and Sector development have been developed since 2015. With the expansion, the network of associate and technical partners have also increased which now includes government agencies like 112

DOST and DTI, the academe and private practitioners and professionals. More than 25 Food safety trainers for Agriculture and food processing and five (5) Business Service trainers have been added to the roster of the ANP-Foundation for Enterprise Development, Inc. The expansion of the local training pool is envisioned to boost the development of micro, small enterprises in the manufacturing sector and industry especially the food industry. Preparatory trainings and curriculum development were undertaken over the last two years. Through the support of AFOS Foundation and DOST, food safety consultants for food processing underwent trainings on GMP, HACCP and Basic Food Technology while the Agri Trainers were trained on Good Agricultural Practices and Organic Farming. Thirteen (13), of the existing Food safety Consultants, are now accredited with the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA). The Business Skills Development Team , on the other hand went through a threeday trainers’ training workshop on Business Planning and Development

under the COMPETE Program supported by the USAID. Local enterprises can now avail of affordable and partially subsidized trainings under the ANP-FEDI. Micro and small enterprises have better chances to compete and survive given the right assistance and support.

Organizing and building the local pool of experts was, and still is a challenging endeavor. Sustainability is always an issue. However, the few that have continued with the program believe in the importance of their role in assisting the local industries, thus, the hard work has not gone to waste.




TERESA CURA PONO The current Resident Representative of AFOS Foundation in the Philippines, Teresa Cura Pono, is a development professional who has worked in various capacities in the Philippine Government and the Private Sector. She was involved in projects funded by the Philippine Government and such institutions as

the World Bank, the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation & Development and UNICEF in the areas of MSME Development, Environment, Socialized Housing, Livelihood, Urban Basic Services and Organizational Development. At AFOS, she provides program and management support to the Philippine projects. 115

MA. VICENTA P. RIO Marivic has been a strong advocate of enterprise and industry development as evidenced by her more than twenty year involvement with the Association of Negros Producers, Inc (ANP) and ANP-Foundation for Enterprise Development (ANP-FEDI). Once an exporter herself, her company was among the first micro- enterprises


of ANP to penetrate the EU Market. She has served ANP as President in 2000-2001 , CEO (probono) in 2002-2003 and is currently  an active volunteer and trainor for the ANP-FEDI.   She served as Program Coordinator of the OURFood Program in Negros Occidental since 2011 –2017. 

ADONIS M. TRAJE Adonis M. Traje, better known as “Don”, is the OURFood Project’s Coordinator for Agriculture. An Agriculturist by profession and a farmer in essence, Don is backed by years of experience in this field, both in the private sector and in government.

Don was also an Instructor in Organizational Development at the Graduate School of Management, University of the Philippines (UP) Mindanao. He loves to travel and visit smallholder farmers in the countryside.


JEANETTE C. PATINDOL Jeanette C. Patindol has been writing freelance for publication for 36 years now since she was 14 years old, with her first article published in the former Mod Filipina Magazine distributed nationally. She has since written for the Sunday Inquirer

Magazine, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and recently, Smart Parenting Magazine. She is also a volunteer columnist for the Diocese of Bacolod’s weekly newsletter, Adsum. She has also been awarded creative writing fellowships to the DLSUUSLS Kritika-Iyas Workshops in 2000 and 2002, the U.P.-Miag-ao 41st Creative Writing Workhop in 2002, and the Ateneo Barlaya Children’s Writing Workshop in 2006.  Aside from being a multi-awarded writer, she is an Assistant Professor at the University of St. La Salle, teaching courses in Economics, Popular Culture, Futures Studies and Communications in Conflict.


DR. ANA ISABEL V. SALACATA Anabel is an Infectious Disease Physician by training but her interest brought her beyond the world of medicine. She is a wife, mother of two, daughter of a non-agenarian, natural farmer, food safety expert, businesswoman, traveler, avid cook, beekeeper, photographer. Her involvement with the OURFood Program and AFEDI has broadened her knowledge on food safety issues in a developing country and has strengthened her advocacy to do something about it. Her motto, “ Leave the world in a better state than when you first got here” encapsulates that philosophy. She is a proud member of the Negrense Food Consultancy Group. 


ENGR. RENDELL BARCIMO Rendell Barcimo is a proud Negrense and BacoleĂąo. He is a chemical engineer, an environmental manager, and a college professor. His passion for food has paved the way to his becoming a food safety trainer and consultant. He is an active member of the Negrense Food Consultancy Group and has worked as the Technical Coordinator for Food Safety and Food Technology for AFOS Foundation under its project, OURFood. Currently, he is a professor at the University of St. La Salle - College of Engineering and Technology. During his spare time, he loves to read, travel, cook, and eat.


MAY ELIZABETH YBAĂ‘EZ May Elizabeth Segura-Ybanez is a natural farmer/ecologist at heart and profession, practicing as a development catalyst and Executive Director of the multi-awarded Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry since 2013. Multi-tasked and multiskilled, she directs and manages the engagement of over 800 member companies, chapters and sectoral organizations in the chamber and assists in bringing business to the next level as well as ensure smooth publicprivate, international-local, industryacademe partnerships.


DOREEN ALICIA PEĂ‘A Reena has been an entrepreneur for 30 years. Aside from producing housewares, she is also into agriculture and has adopted the natural farming system for certain agricultural products. She has been a member of the Association of Negros Producers, Inc. and has served as President of ANP at one point. Reena is currently the President of the ANP-Foundation for Enterprise Development, Inc. which focuses on improving the business skills of entrepreneurs and professionalizing their businesses.


DR. MICHELLE A. NARANJO Dr. Michele A. Naranjo is concurrently the Silliman University OIC Director for Extension Program and the Chairperson of Nutrition and Dietetics Department. She is a Ph.D. in Social Science and has been trained in Food Safety in Philippine Trade and Training Center prior to her Food Safety and Traceability Certificate given by the Association for Overseas Teachnical Scholarship (OATS) in Japan. Dr. Naranjo is fortunate to undergo intensive training OURFood Project and the Department of Science in Trade and Industry (DOST) where her knowledge and skills food safety are honed and at present she is part of Negros Oriental Food Safety Team.


GEMMA B. KITANE Gemma B. Kitane, the team leader of the Negros Oriental Food Safety Team (NOFST), is a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology and Master in Public Health. She is a teaching staff of the Institute of Clinical Laboratory Sciences and coordinator of the Master in Public Health program of Silliman University, Dumaguete City. She is also a technical service provider for food safety, solid waste management, health project development and health service delivery.




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OURFood CHRONICLES “This book chronicles the experiences and learnings in the OURFood (Optimizing & Upscaling Roles in the Food Supply Chain) Project through stories written by the women and men involved in its conceptualization, planning and implementation. It is the writers’ vision that the book shall serve to provide information and inspire all who wish to replicate the Project’s concepts and approaches. The OURFood Project paved the way for real change to happen. OURFood adopted the right approach and invested in the right areas which made the team realize that micro and small players can adapt to internationally acceptable standards and be competitive given the right support. OURFood is a project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation & Development (BMZ) through sequa and is implemented in Cebu and Negros, Philippines by Germany’s AFOS Foundation for Entrepreneurial Development Cooperation with the Association of Negros Producers, the Cebu Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce & Industry and various partners in government and the private sector.”


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OURFood Chronicles  

OURFood Chronicles  

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