“No man is an island’’, the quote says. A lot of people learn better together than alone. We relate with the mistakes of others when we have been through the same situation. As such, relationships must be positively fostered. An activity like a forum is just one way to do so. In this case a Farmers Forum which included farmer participants from all people organizations served by the partner NGOs of PinoyMe Foundation that happened on the 5th and 6th day of December 2016.
Nine of these farmers came from four people organizations covered by Pasali Philippines Foundation. Notable of which are 6 T’boli farmers coming from the Municipality of Maasim from Sarangani province. These fellows belong to two separate organizations, but what connects them is their status as fledgling coffee farmer associations. Most of them are only fluent in bisaya and t’boli with a spattering of common tagalog words. On the way to the forum some even voice out that they are afraid that they would need to stand up and explain. Living in the remote highlands they were curious and daunted of striking out in an unfamiliar city territory and meeting new people. Especially since they are so new to the people organization’s world.
Fast forward on the second day of the forum where participants where sharing the different challenges they have and are still facing, and what solutions they think would resolve them. These six T’boli participants were amazed that organizations older and more sophisticated than they are, are facing the same problems they themselves are struggling with. They were even astounded that they have resolved on their own a few of the challenges discussed.
Over planning and discussion on specific activities to resolve the problems still in existence, it was nice that finally they were slowly stepping up, suggesting resolutions and realizing that they too can one day improve and become like the other farmer associations present during the forum. They were still shy and slow to speak but the eagerness has been observably sparked. More so, they are with the knowledge that they are not alone in the endeavor they are in pursuit.
"Reducing rural poverty through Agroentrepreneurship" is a scale-up intervention among coffee flagship groups of the former FARM Project.