30 Marinduque-based rice farmers participated in the first Financial Literacy and Values Formation Training conducted by AGREA as part of efforts to reintroduce a reinvigorated System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in the province last Tuesday, 27 June 2017, at the AGREA Office, Cawit, Marinduque.
"Though practiced among farmer cooperatives, there is rarely appreciation and in-depth understanding of the financial management among farmers on a personal level."
Through the Reflection-Discussion-Application (RDA) Cycle-Framework, the training reveals that farmers often neglect budgeting because of the inability to put things into perspective, due to the absence of funds to budget.
"Nagbu-budget lang po kami kung meron pong perang iba-budget", (We only think about budgeting if there are funds to budget), Averiel Rosales, one of the participants, jokingly quipped.
The participants enumerated and visualized their dreams and aspirations. This included the things they wanted to attain as well as what they wanted to accomplish, not only for themselves, but also for their community, the province, and the country.
AGREA believes in an ecology of dignity. Cherrie Atilano, AGREA’s President and Founding Farmer, put into perspective that farmers are being trained because they are the solutions that has the potential to lift the Philippines from poverty.
"Hindi ako naniniwala na ang farmers ang problema. Kayo po ang solusyon at ‘yun po ang dahilan kung bakit tine-train po natin kayo ngayon", (I do not believe that farmers are the problem. You are the solution and that is why you are being trained here today), said Atilano.
VISUALIZED DREAMS AND ASPIRATIONS. Trainees during the Financial Literacy and Values Formation pose with AGREA President Cherrie Atilano and representatives from DAR Marinduque. (Images by AGREA)
Through a set of activities done after short lectures and reflection sessions, the farmers were also taught how to create a budget plan and how important this is for achieving specific goals in a specific time frame.
While it is true that budgeting is not a complete solution to economic insufficiency, budgeting gives the farmer a perspective of where they currently stand, and what possible solutions can be taken without immediately resorting to the moneylenders.
"While it is true that budgeting is not a complete solution to economic insufficiency, budgeting gives the farmer a perspective of where they currently stand, and what possible solutions can be taken without immediately resorting to the moneylenders."
The farmers were taught to set objectives and priorities which later becomes their attainable goals. A basic but crucial takeaway for budgeting was "your income should be bigger than your expenses". When a budget is in place, reviews, adjustments, and plans for saving become easier.
At the end of the training, the farmers were provided with a uniform budget management planner, which they were encouraged to use. These budget plans will then be presented in the succeeding training for evaluation and learning maximization.
Bank accounts for farmers
Ultimately, AGREA envisions participating farmers opening and maintaining savings accounts with a local bank, and therefore managing their finances on a regular and systematic basis.
The Financial Literacy and Values Formation Training is part of AGREA’s Season-long System of Rice Intensification (SRI) training and supported by DAR Marinduque. This training will take place in a span of three months and will have its second and third leg on July 18 and August 10 of 2017.