A Review of Agro-enterprise Development Models in Conflict-Vulnerable Areas in the Philippine Context
The agro-enterprise approach is a systematic method of shifting from a food security strategy focused on production to a market-oriented approach that emphasizes income generation and profit based on market demand and sales of agricultural products. This paper reviews agro-enterprise development models implemented in conflict-vulnerable areas in the Philippines. These include (1) the Catholic Relief Services Philippines’ clustering approach to agro-enterprise development that evolved in the course of the implementation of the US Department of Agriculture– assisted Small Farms Marketing Project (SFMP), Department of Trade and Industry’s Rural Agro-enterprise Partnership and Inclusive Development (RAPID) project, and ACIAR Mindanao Agricultural Extension Project’s (AMAEP) Livelihood Improvement through Facilitated Extension (LIFE) model, which is now being implemented through PCAARRD, UP Mindanao, and the Landcare Foundation of the Philippines Inc. (LPFI), in three conflict-vulnerable areas in Mindanao. Another agro-enterprise model in conflict areas is Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Training Institute’s (DA-ATI) “From Arms to Farms: Fostering Peace through Agri-Fishery Development in Conflict Areas.” Desk research and secondary data gathered showed that while there are a number of agro-enterprise engagements in the Philippines, there are few approaches that focus on conflict-vulnerable areas. There are common elements in the models reviewed, such as community organizing, an emphasis on participatory approach, and taking stock of the community’s assets and resources. Differences also lie among them in terms of their focus on improvement in social capital and income. Results of this review can be utilized by both policy makers and development workers on how to craft more effective programs using these approaches.