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Partnership to help small farmers access better products in Philippines

The agriculture sector contributed 23% of the national labor force in 2020. The majority of the farmers within this sector are smallholders, with farm holdings under one hectare.

Additionally, farmers remain one of the poorest labor forces in the country. They are often living in rural communities with limited access to markets and services. They also engage in other livelihoods in the informal economy to add to their income from farming. Despite these, smallholder farmers produce food for a substantial proportion of the population. They try to help themselves by participating in and organizing through cooperatives, but they also encounter problems in running these cooperatives properly. This becomes problematic for large cooperative enterprises and agribusiness companies that need reliable agricoop partners as suppliers in their value chains.

It is for this reason that Agriterra linked with like-minded organizations such as East-West Seed (EWS) as one of its partner local resource organizations under the Generating Rural Opportunities by Working with Cooperatives (GROW-Coop) Project which is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Under GROW-Coop, Agriterra delivers interventions that strengthen the capacity of large cooperatives, federations, and private companies like EWS to become local resource organizations. In turn, these organizations provide in-depth mentoring, capacity development, and support participation in value chains to smaller agri-based cooperatives whom they work with. Local resource organizations are envisioned to become hubs for ideas and resources and to act as connectors and influencers that smaller agricultural cooperatives go to for help, advice, or expertise.

EWS saw the challenges experienced by the smaller cooperatives whom they engaged within their supply chain. Most of these challenges are related to business continuity, financial management and product quality. Agriterra trained EWS in conducting a cooperative assessment to evaluate the cooperatives’ business in terms of finance, governance, and reputation. Together with experts and advisors from Agriterra, EWS conducted cooperative assessments for three of its six partner cooperatives. At the end of the assessment, EWS and the cooperatives agreed on areas of collaboration that will be implemented during the GROW Coop Project. This included a partnership with Landbank Countryside Development Foundation, Inc. (LCDFI) and Landbank to evaluate and assist the cooperatives in improving their financial capacity to become eligible borrowers from its credit facility.

Partnership agreement
In 2019, Agriterra entered into a partnership agreement with LCDFI to provide development support to selected borrowing agricultural cooperatives of Landbank and to eventually assist other agricultural cooperatives in the country for further expansion. The partnership is crucial to meet the financing needs of many of the small agri-based cooperatives that are part of GROW Coop.

According to Alfred Bautista, Cooperative Specialist of EWS, what makes GROW-Coop significant is that it empowers growth-oriented cooperatives to lead and implement their own solutions by providing training, mentoring, and business advise. Despite the limitations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, EWS and GROW-Coop ensured that monitoring and consultations with the cooperatives were sustained through virtual communication. Bautista added:

“Many cooperative officers and staff have shown interest and support to the interventions of East West Seed, Agriterra and USAID. GROW-Coop helped cooperatives identify and clarify their Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals (BHAG) and provided them the tools and training to attain these goals by professionalising their business operations, governance, and financial management.”
Bautista also shared that the experts and business advisors of Agriterra imparted valuable ideas and local and international good practices in cooperative entrepreneurship.

With its continued partnership with GROW-Coop, EWS is strengthening its relationship with the cooperatives who serve as their partners in providing farmers access to high-quality vegetable seeds. In turn, this will enable EWS to further fulfill their mission to improve the lives of more smallholder farmers in the Philippines and promote the growth and quality of the country’s agriculture industry.

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Israel announces creation of global seed company

Two Israeli seed producers, Nirit Seeds and TomaTech, have joined forces to create Israel’s largest vegetable seed company. This synergy will enable unique seed breeding research and development that will accelerate the company’s growth in the international seed markets.

Upon completion of the merger, the company will have more than 80 employees worldwide, including molecular biologists, breeders, agronomists, and others.
The company will improve its breeding activities in Israel, Spain, Mexico and Italy, as well as significantly expand its representation in the Netherlands and North America, with a particular focus on growing vegetables in high-tech greenhouses.

Nirit Seeds is one of the most successful internationally traded tomato and pepper seed producers, investing in the development of revolutionary genetic technologies. TomaTech is one of the leading tomato seed companies in Israel, developing premium varieties, including those resistant to the dangerous Tomato Brown Ruffle Virus (ToBRFV).

The production of crop seeds is one of the most advanced and high-tech sectors in Israel. According to the Seed Department of the Federation of Israel Chambers of Commerce, seed exports currently generate $200 million in annual revenue. There are about 25 large and medium-sized companies in the local industry.

For reference. According to market research, the global vegetable seed industry is valued at $8 billion a year and is growing at a CAGR of 8%.

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Karachay-Cherkessia became one of the leaders in the production of greenhouse vegetables at the end of 2021


Greenhouse vegetable production in 2021 reached a record 1.4 million tonnes. According to the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation, the leaders among the regions in this segment are the Karachay-Cherkess Republic, Lipetsk, Moscow, Kaluga, Volgograd, Novosibirsk, Saratov, Chelyabinsk regions, Krasnodar and Stavropol Territories, the Republics of Bashkortostan and Tatarstan. These regions account for more than 60% of the total production in the country. The intensive development of greenhouse projects in our country helps to provide Russians with fresh vegetables all year round. Last year, the harvest in winter greenhouses updated the 2020 record – more than 1.4 million tons of products were received. Including the production of cucumbers amounted to at least 830 thousand tons, and tomatoes – 590 thousand tons. It is expected that by 2025 the volume of vegetable production in year-round greenhouses will be at least 1.6 million tons of vegetables.


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December: Special Year Overview

In 2022, it will be 22 year since the new millennium started. Can’t believe it? Neither can we, but it is true. Before we go there, it is time to reflect on what has happened this year. Over the next couple of weeks, we will look back at 2021 and we will highlight the most important events that impacted the industry.

New greenhouses, events, even a few shows, technical novelties, and all other relevant news will pass by, offering you something other than Covid to talk about during Christmas and New Years’.


Wish your customers Happy Holidays
This special also offers an opportunity to put your company in the spotlight with a banner in this special box. This banner can be booked until December 24 on our newsletters. For more information, feel free to send an email to: 

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