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EDITORIAL: COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATIONS A challenging alternative to Cooperatives

Economic issues such as the importation of onions, sugar, rice, and other agricultural commodities are hard to control because of our agreement with the World Trade Organization or WTO. We are committed to importing in the same manner as exporting a certain amount of goods to the member nations. The obligation to comply with international agreements is supported by our centralized national policies to the extent that local producers are no longer involved in the actual discussions of import and export issues.

Any policy decisions involving small agriculture producers is faulty because they are not based on area analysis but on national data analytics. National data analysis is not always accurate. It is not based on wactual happenings on the field, particularly environmental and social factors on the ground.

Sectoral representatives are usually controlled or influenced by big traders, hoarders, price manipulators, and politicians. These people are based in metro manila and are exposed to the influence of corporate ideas, not social and local economic conditions. When money and power are involved representations are side-lined and big interests prevail. There is a need to overhaul the dysfunctional national and centralized planning system and switch to area-based planning and management of production, consumption, and distribution of farm produce strategy.

An area-based agriculture policy must be supported by people-oriented organizations. One of these is a community-based corporate structure. We must not be prisoners of the old and ruined concept of cooperatives. We must adapt and accept the use of corporate concepts in our local development needs. We can adapt, and introduce a Filipino model of COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATIONS that was used by the US and also applied by other countries for economic recovery during the great depression in the 1930s. WE NEED INNOVATIVE AND BRAVE LEGISLATORS TO WORK FOR MEANINGFUL CHANGE.

Many of us with higher education degrees had negative reactions in organizing our farmers and other poor agricultural producers by immediately concluding that the poor and marginalized people that feed us are not qualified to run corporations. They always say that cooperatives are more suited to them, simply because we have a COOPERATIVE DEVELOPMENT AGENCY (CDA), which is now acting like a COOPERATIVE REGULATORY AGENCY (CRA). This reasoning is flawed. First, we are not looking at the poor, less-educated, and marginalized farmers. We are hoping to INVOLVE THEIR CHILDREN who may have graduated from agricultural schools, or from business management programs, or any other academic finishers but cannot find employment in government or industries. We have to train and re-educate them on the importance of economic entrepreneurship as a way toward progress.

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