Fairtrade is more than a checklist of standards and certification criteria, it is about helping newly formed organisations develop their values, set up their mission, and vision, and identify their strength and opportunities that will help them play a larger role in building a sustainable and resilient farming community.
Samahan ng Organikong Magniniyog ng Albay is our newly organized group of coconut farmers with 34 founding farmer members who supply organic and Fairtrade products to Primex Isle De Coco, Inc., (PIDCI)- a Fairtrade-certified trader based in Albay, Philippines.
With continuous certification and advisory support from FT-NAPP since 2020, both the organisation have been granted permission to trade under Fairtrade since 2022.
To help them assess and strengthen their capacity and to discuss the interventions required, FT-NAPP has come up with a focused group discussion with the founding members and officers of SOMA. The design of an organization is often a critical enabler for the achievement of an organisation’s strategy and goals, ongoing innovation, and streamlined operations.
Through the activity a customised consultation, technical assistance, and capacity-building services are designed, that will help the officers and management staff to strengthen their knowledge and skills for sustainable development and to overcome barriers, and achieve their organisational goals. This includes support for organizational needs assessments, implementation of continuous quality improvement processes, leadership development support and coaching, and other services to achieve a high-performance organization.
Through the Training, SOMA was able to create and develop its Vision, Mission, and Goal and identify its organisation values that will guide its action.
SOMA envisions becoming a leading organic and Fairtrade coconut farmers association catering to members’ needs and empowerment, providing them with access to a decent quality of life, protecting the environment, and building a robust and sustainable livelihood.
To be able to achieve their vision their member’s missions are to enhance and empower the lives of small-scale farmer members by optimum utilisation of Fairtrade Premium in accordance with the existing Fairtrade Standard and to continuously adhere to the Organic Standard and Fairtrade Standard of farming, to improve the quality of life of small-scale farmers by providing affordable and quality services to the member’s satisfaction and equipping them to build resilient farms and communities.
The organisation goals are :
- To focus on sustainable livelihoods by reducing poverty among poor households through increased income, providing stable sources of income to members, improving basic needs and services, and increasing agricultural product
- To provide capacity-building and skill training for farmers members to improve farm productivity, improve democracy, transparency, and accountability, continuous education to members to remain committed to the organization; good agricultural practices in organic and fair trade standards.
- To build a sustainable community by providing safe and decent living conditions for the members and their community and continuous education to members to remain committed to the organization.
- The organisation aims to uphold the values of participatory governance, honesty and transparency, fairness and equality, and protection of basic human rights and Bayanihan – a Filipino trait of helping the neighbourhood without cash return, to be cooperative oriented, be sympathetic to members, clients, and community situation, to trust and respect each other’s opinion and work in unity and collaboration
Post the training, SOMA has prepared its Fairtrade Development Plan through a focused-group discussion in 2022. Since they started receiving FT premiums from the 1st quarter of 2023, the General Assembly has adopted the Fairtrade Development Plan 2022 as their priority.
Some of the recommended list of training as per the need assessment conducted by the Board of Directors for the starting up organization include:
- Basic course in organizational development
- Management and Good Governance
- Leadership and Values Formation
- Rules Formulation
- Financial Management
- Parliamentary Procedures (Handling meetings, GAs, etc.
- Basic Bookkeeping for Non-Accountants
- Strategic Planning
Pic: SWOT ANALYSIS done by the Farmer members
- We are satisfied with the activity where members and officers are learning together.
- I am very happy because we are here together, defining our future, what we want, and what we should do as an Association to become strong and successful
- Some of our new members cannot attend the event due to bad weather. Some of them cannot cross because of the flood. Despite that, most of our members are here. Rain or shine. As long as we are united, we have trust in each other, and we follow the organic and fairtrade requirements, we will become successful in the future
- Fairtrade is an advocacy to uplift the lives of small-holder farmers like us.
- We have to always remember to respect one another. If there are any issues or concerns, we should discuss them and sit down together. As Association, we must keep open communication while we build trust and confidence with one another. Let us maximize our time like this, or during the meeting, to discuss our issues and find solutions together.