Women leaders and ten IP representatives from the Bukidnon, Umayamnon, Higa-onon, Matigsalug, and Talaandig tribes were among the 40 participants to the “Simplified Business Plan and Proposal Preparation for Livelihood Microenterprises” workshop held on 29 January to 1 February 2013 at Haus Malibu, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon.
Resource person Mr. Antonio Peralta, Executive Director of the Foundation for Rural Enterprises & Ecology Development of Mindanao, taught participants how to develop their business plans and write proposals for their microenterprises.
“I’m impressed that they were all able to balance their balance sheets,” Mr. Peralta said. It was the first time for many of the participants to learn this including how to prepare their income statements and cash flow statements. Although many found the topics on the financial aspect of the business plan hard because of the limited time, he stressed that it was important for them get familiar with accounting concepts.
“It is your business to know your business,” Mr. Peralta reminded the group. With their added knowledge of basic accounting, they can better understand how the financial plan should look like and prepare well-written proposals for funding. He also recommended that IP participants should clearly understand the link between the Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development Protection Plan (ADSDPP) and the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997 in relation to the business plans that they were developing.
Participants were divided into 14 teams and each developed a business plan based on an idea that was commercially viable and responsive to their community’s needs, specially those of the IP community in the context of agro-forestry. For an idea to be approved by the group, it should consider the availability of resources in the area, ready market, and must integrate climate change and gender. Several were related to crop production such as carrots, coffee, and bamboo. Other municipalities focused on vermicompost and handicrafts.
The first draft of the proposals underwent peer review and critiquing from Dr. Rafael Creencia (Agro-forestry and Small and Medium Enterprise Specialist), Dr. Rosa Perez (Climate Change Specialist), Ms. Elda Montera (Capacity Building Specialist), and Ms. Lourdes Caballero (Knowledge Management Specialist).
Dr. Perez talked about Value Chain and Climate Change as well as climate predictions for Bukidnon and Region 10. Participants were concerned on pre-post harvest facilities in the value chain. Dr. Perez suggested using water-saving agro-technologies since climate is expected to become dry in the coming years.
Among those who attended the workshop were staff of the DENR-PENRO, MENRO, BENRO, CENRO, Provincial Agriculture Office, Municipal Agriculture Office, Planning & Monitoring, PGO-Livelihood, PGO-Indigenous Affairs Division, and BENRO-Research. The workshop was organized by the Decentralized Framework on Sustainable Natural Resource and Rural Infrastructure Management. The Asia Development Bank the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction are funding the technical assistance until October 2013.