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June 3, 1998



SUBJECT    :     Application of the Farming System
                           Development (FSD) Approach in the
                           Development of Agrarian Reform
                           Communities (ARCs)



The Development of Agrarian Reform (DAR) is carrying out strategic interventions critical in addressing improved production and income of farm households in the ARCs. One of the tested strategies being applied by DAR in ARC development is the Farming Systems Development (FSD) approach. Through the assistance of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations — Sustainable Agrarian Reform Communities — Technical Support to Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (SARC-TSARRD), DAR is adopting the FSD approach in the preparation of an area based and farm household focused development program for selected ARCs nationwide. To date, more than 100 ARC development plans have been formulated using the FSD approach. These development plans are an integral part of the preparatory activities required by DAR in the development of ARCs covered by foreign-assisted projects such as ARCDP and SARDIC.   IDAESH

II.      Background

The development of viable ARCs has been the focus of DAR operations where the provision of technical and financial assistance including essential support services are being intensified. This is intended to increase farm productivity and income and ensure the sustained development of the ARCs. DAR envisions to showcase ARC development in a holistic manner while enhancing the active involvement and participation of the farm households in the overall development process.

The experience of DAR in the application of the FSD approach in ARC development and the growing recognition by LGUs, national government agencies and foreign donors manifest that the FSD is proving to be a highly practical and effective development approach. In fact, DAR has instituted the application of the FSD approach to prepare the ARCs for the eventual implementation of foreign-assisted projects such as ARCDP, ARISP and SARDIC. Significantly, the FSD approach has provided the appropriate mechanisms for synchronizing development activities at the ARC level between and among CARP implementing agencies, LGUs, NGOs and farm households paving the way to sustained development of the ARC.

Along this context, DAR will pursue the FSD approach as a complementary approach in ARC development work in addressing the problems and needs of the ARC and in improving the levels of production and income of the farm households in all ARCs.

III.    The Farming Systems Development (FSD) Approach

FSD is a holistic and participatory approach to develop the farm households and the ARC on a sustainable basis. The thrust of FSD is the assessment of the development problems and constraints that hamper the improvement of the socio-economic conditions of the farm household and prevent the development of the ARCs. Through the FSD approach, the ARB actively participate in the identification and testing of appropriate solutions to address the problems and constraints taking into consideration technical and institutional factors.

The rationale for adopting the FSD approach to ARC development is premised on the findings that in ARCs, farming is the most important economic activity. Each farming system is characterized by specific development constraints and resource potentials. Sustainable development is achieved when potential improvements are identified and implemented on the basis of the careful analysis of the specific farming in the ARCs.

The FSD approach provides the farm households with the effective decision-making tool for improving farm production and income.

FSD fits well within the ARC Development Framework of DAR and the overall objectives of the CARP. It has been proven to be relevant in carrying out the main activities of CARP involving program beneficiaries and in the delivery of essential support services to the ARCs.

Drawing lessons from the experience of DAR through FAO-TSARRD, the major features of the FSD approach include the following:


A.     Farm Household Focused


FSD is a systems approach which focuses on the farm households as the basic unit for analysis, development planning and project implementation in the ARC. The farm household systems are part of, and heavily influenced by the physical conditions, socio-cultural environment and policy and institutional set-up of the ARCS. The actual influence that an isolated farm household may have in these conditions and set-up, however, is often very limited Therefore, the surrounding environment always determines to a large extent both constraints and development potentials of the specific farming systems which are imposed by other systems, conditions and environments. Farm households are actively involved in the analysis and understanding of the farm grouped focused dialogue. The farmer-leaders represented in the FSD Team is tasked to assist in the preparation of the ARC Development Plan. This plan is implemented through their local organizations and existing institutions.   aDATHC


B.      Community Participation in ARC Development


A significant feature of the FSD approach is the direct participation and involvement of the ARC residents in the development process through the Barangay Workshop Consultations (BWCs). The ARC residents participate in the assessment of development problems and constraints and in the identification of possible solutions and courses of action that would address the development needs and requirements of the ARC. Following the BWC process, the ARC assists in the collection of primary data through the farm household surveys and focused group dialogue, in farming system analysis and in the formulation of the ARC development plan. The crucial role of the ARC residents in implementing the plan is also defined.

Since FSD operates in defined geographic area using the physical boundaries of the ARC, the development constraints and potentials of the physical resources are analyzed and taken into account in the planning and implementation process. Development interventions are focused in specific farming system zones where homogenous groups of farm households are engaged in similar farming activities.


C.     Multi-Sectoral and Inter-disciplinary Elements


FSD involves multi-sectoral components because development problems and constraints identified by the farm households are inter-related and multi-faceted. Farm improvements and related agricultural support services require basic infrastructure and institutional strengthening activities, including the provision of basic social services and environment protection. The FSD Team composed of "local experts and specialists" from various disciplines are formed and trained to provide technical assistance and support to implement development programs. This Team is consisting of institutional development officers from DAR and the NGOs, an Agriculturist, an Engineer and a Development Planner from the Local Government Units (LGUs) and "local experts" from among the farmers organizations and multi-purpose cooperatives.


D.     Spatial Integration


The FSD approach envisages that an effective link should be established between the farm household, production areas and the market outlets or trading points. Institutional networking agribusiness linkages and marketing assistance are carefully analyzed in relation to its relevance to ARC production activities. Provision of support infrastructures such as farm-to-market roads and bridges, transport and post-harvest facilities provide easier access of ARC produce to the market.


E.      Gender Consideration


Gender concerns among ARB organizations, NGOs and government agencies are integrated in the overall development process through the FSD approach. These methodologies are pursued in training programs and project related activities to enhance women skills and abilities in farming systems management, cooperative development and management, resource mobilization and management of livelihood activities and income generating projects. FSD promotes equal opportunities for both men and women, through their direct participation in the identification and formulation and relevant and appropriate project interventions in their communities.


F.      Local Government Participation and Commitment


The FSD approach advocates the continuing involvement of the local government units (LGUs), who are essential partners in ARC development. A vital step in FSD application involves orientation workshops with LGUs at provincial and municipal levels where Provincial Governors, Municipal Mayors and other key officials interact with DAR and FAO-SARC-TSARRD in carrying out the FSD process to pursue ARC development. The involvement of the LGU is further enhanced through the FSD Team development planning, ARC plan implementation and project management. The participation of key LGU staff such as the Municipal Planning and Development Officer, the Municipal Agriculturist and the Municipal Engineer as members of the FSD Team is a strong manifestation of the LGUs support and commitment to improve the socio-economic conditions of the ARC in their locality. Through the local development councils at barangay and municipal levels, ARC development plans are ensured of being incorporated in the local development planning and budgeting process.


G.     Organizational Integration


With the advent of foreign assisted projects (FAPs) such as the World Bank-funded ARCDP, the OECF-assisted ARISP and the UNDP-supported SARDIC, the FSD approach is being applied to enhance the role and functions of existing local organizational structures and institutions. An appropriate coordinating and implementation structures is established to promote functional relationships and linkages of these existing structures to facilitate implementation of FAPs at the ARC level. The coordinating and implementing mechanisms design by the FSD Team with the concurrence of the ARC residents ensure the long-term sustainability of FAPs interventions and other development activities supported by the private sector, NGOs and the national government. The FSD team enhances the role and functions of the Municipal CARP Implementing Team (MCIT) through its involvement in coordination of development activities and resource mobilization at municipal and provincial levels. Participating CARP implementing agencies such as DA, DENR, DTI DSWD, DPWH and NIA are encouraged to provide technical and financial assistance to the ARC development plan.   SacDIE

III.    The Phases of the FSD Process

Using previous FAO experiences as well as the principles and concept of FSD as general framework, DAR and FAO-TSARRD developed and adopted a complementary approach to community development suitable to local conditions and requirements of the farm households in the ARCs. As an initial step in the adoption of the FSD process, the DAR Central and field staff FAO-TSARRD and selected farmer leaders were trained on the FSD approach. A revised training-cum-planning module was tested and applied in selected ARCs. Subsequently, several ARC-based FSD teams were organized to implement the approach. Under the guidance of DAR and FAO-TSARRD, the FSD teams underwent a five-week training-cum-planning exercise laying the groundwork for the formulation of ARC development plan.

The training-cum-planning process underwent several revisions and improvements. The latest revision of the FSD training-cum-planning covers a 6-phase process jointly carried out by DAR Central Office, Regional and Provincial staff and FAO-TSARRD National Experts. The major activities of each phase are as follows:

Phase 1 — Barangay Workshop Consultations (BWCs) and Pre-Training Conference. It is in this phase that awareness and confidence building among community residents and the local government units (LGUs) at the provincial and municipal levels on agrarian reform communities development and the prospects for ARCs development take place. This stage basically defines the priority needs and proposed projects of the community and the involvement of the LGUs and the community residents in implementing the projects identified.

The phase commences with an FSD orientation for DAR and LGU officials and NGO representatives. Secondary data and information on existing development plans and programs relevant to the ARC are discuss and determined. The Barangay Workshop Consultation (BWC) is then conducted with the participation of ARC residents including both ARBs and non-ARBs. Development constraints, potentials and recommendations to respond to the development needs of the ARC are identified and prioritized. The results of the BWC are presented to the LGUs and participating line agencies for conclusion and consideration in the local development plans and priorities. With the concurrence of the LGU and DAR, an FSD Team composed of local community residents and representatives from LGOs, NGOs and government units, is organized to undergo a series of training and field activities on the application of the FSD approach.

Phase 2 — Pre-Survey and ARC Profiling. This phase focuses on the preparation of ARC socio-economic profile. The FSD Team gathers and validates the data and information from line agencies and local governments based of guidelines suggested by FAO-SARC-TSARRD. Data on the ARCs such as location, accessibility, household population, socio-cultural, basic social services, environment and agricultural information, and existing organizations are the basic information that are generated and verified by the team. The ARC profile and the output of the BWC provide the basis for institutional analysis of the physical features, socio-economic conditions and institutional set-up in the ARC, and for developing eventually the community based-plan.

Phase 3 — FSD Training Cum Planning Exercise. This phase is concerned with a week-long capability-building exercise for the FSD team to equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills and formulating a development plan. The training is designed to provide the participants with a thorough understanding of the Farming Systems Development approach and the operation of the different components of the FSD.   HSDaTC

The course is composed of modules on the concept, framework and tools of the FSD as an approach to development planning and project implementation; on data collection and organization, analysis, and report writing; and on the mechanisms for farming systems zoning and profiling, preparation and analyzing seasonal calendar vis-a-vis cropping patterns and other farming activities, cost and returns and cash flows. A discussion on the format and outline for the preparation of the indicative development plan of the ARCs including the organization and management arrangement for coordinating the implementation of the ARC development plan is likewise provided.

The training will conclude with the development of a plan of action for the activities in Phase 4 which is the field work..

Phase 4 — Field Work and Application of the FSD Tool. This involves the conduct of the farm household surveys and focused group dialogue by the FSD Team to generate primary data and information. The results of the farming systems zone profiles which include a presentation of the cost and return analysis, monthly cash flows and indications of annual household incomes. From the tabulated results, key development problems are identified and assessed into a "constraint tree analysis". Likewise, development potentials are determined as basis for the formulation of the tentative ARC development plans.

Under this phase, the team formulates the draft ARC development plan, which incorporates the farming systems zone profiles, the identified development problems and potentials and proposed ARC development interventions.

Phase 5 — Report Writing and Presentation. To facilitate the finalization of FSD report, a week-long residential training for the review and refinements of the draft ARC development plan is conducted. The FSD team together with DAR regional and provincial staff and FAO-TSARRD Experts review the identified problems and constraints based on the farming system zone profiles, the ARC profiles and results of the BWCs. The tabulated results of the farm household surveys and focused group dialogue are also reviewed as basis for validating the identified problems and potentials. The plan reflects the integration and complementation of activities and strategies to respond to the concerns of developing the ARCs. The proposed development interventions are then presented in a plenary session to draw reactions and comments from a panel consisting of the DAR Regional staff, the PARO and FAO-SARC-TSARRD Experts.

The training serves as a venue to discuss recommendations and pointers on the appropriate organization and management structures, resource mobilization agribusiness linkages and project monitoring and evaluation. Likewise, guidelines and tips on the presentation of the ARC development plan to the community are discussed The Phase % activity culminates with the preparation of an action plan that incorporates the specific activities to be undertaken by the FSD team upon completion of the ARC development plan. Pre-implementation activity included in the action plan is the presentation of the ARC development to DAR management and FAPs officials, inter-agency coordination and linkaging and resource mobilization.

Phase 6 — Plan Implementation. Phase 6 signals the operationalization of the activities and strategies indicated in the plan. It concerns with the mobilization of people and resources in order to undertake the various project-related activities outlined in the ARC development plan. Coordination and linkaging with various support groups to facilitate the implementation of planned activities are undertaken under this phase. Mobilization to expedite access on assistance for support infrastructure, agricultural support services and institutional development particularly in areas where there are defined intervention under the FAPs, are also discharged. Coordination of activities to be carried out by other implementing agencies for development components or programs not covered by the FAPs under DAR are also assumed under this phase.   EDCTIa

The matrix summarizing the different phases of the FSD is presented in Table 1.

IV.    Application of the FSD Approach

DAR has so far succeeded in mobilizing national and international assistance to intensify its support services delivery mechanisms to the ARCs. A major challenge to DAR operational strategy is the development of viable ARCs that are able to operate and manage their own resources on a sustainable basis. The FSD approach has proven to be an effective and appropriate strategy in the preparation and implementation of ARC development plans and in enhancing the active participation of the farm household in the overall development process.

As a result of the considerable progress in land tenure improvements, the delivery of essential support services and institutional development activities in the ARCs becomes imperative. The FSD approach used in selected ARCs served as a methodology that provided the mechanisms for the delivery of support services to the ARC with the active participation of the farm households. Figure 1 show the location of ARCs covered by FSD.

The application of the FSD approach within DAR's operational mandate shall involve the following major activities:

A.        Integration of the FSD Approach in the ARC Development Framework

As a complementary approach in formulating the ARC development plan, the FSD processes can be applied and adopted in the various stages of establishing in the various stages of establishing the ARCs. The participatory planning method of FSD will be employed in formulating the ARC development plan including the blueprints for developing the productivity system and agri-business enterprises of the ARC. In ARCs where the ARC development plans will still be developed, the FSD approach will be adopted. However, in ARCs where the ARC development plans will be updated, the FSD procedures and methods will be recommended as an alternative planning tool.

B.        Integration of the FSD in ARCOD

The FSD approach shall be incorporated in the ARCOD module as an essential methodology in ARC development planning. This shall enhance common understanding among the DAR field staff of the significance of FSD as one of the operational strategies within the ARC Development Framework of DAR. This is particularly relevant for MAROs and DFs who are the key members of the FSD Team in their respective area of coverage.

C.        Creation of FSD Trainors Team

The FSD Trainor's team shall consist of a multi-disciplinary team whose individual members have relevant background and experience either in local development planning, agricultural development, institutional strengthening or support infrastructures.

A team of 5 to 10 FSD trainors shall be chosen from among regional and provincial staff who have actively participated in FSD cum planning activities carried out by DAR and FAO-SARC-TSARRD. Members of the team may also be selected from the MARO, NGOs and LGUs especially those who have proven themselves effective trainors and FSD practitioners.

The selection of the FSD trainors shall be approved by the FSD Institutionalization Management Committee (FSD-IMC) upon the recommendations of the DAR Regional Directors. A special Order signed by the Secretary shall be issued to the designated FSD trainors incorporating their job description.   caIACE

D.        Training of FSD Trainors

DAR field staff at regional and provincial levels shall assume significant roles in the application of the FSD approach in ARC development. Recognizing that DAR is in the process of reorienting its field staff from land distribution activities to support services, the training of FSD trainors shall ensure wider coverage and greater number of ARCs.

The conduct of the FSD Trainors Training shall mostly be hands-on where participants are engaged in the actual conduct of the FSD training-cum-planning program with the assistance and supervision of FAO-SARC-TSARRD in all phases of the FSD process. Special lectures and training sessions shall be conducted for specific subject matters and topics relevant to the application of the FSD. The manual on the FSD application prepared by the FAO-SARC-TSARRD shall serves as the basic document of the trainor's training.

An integral part on the training shall be the formulation of a work plan and budget for the application of the FSD approach in the ARC development in their area of coverage.

The cost of the FSD's Trainor's Training shall be funded by DAR and FAO-TSARRD. As in current arrangements, FAO-SARC-TSARRD shall shoulder the cost of supplies and materials, training venue, lodging and accommodation of participants. DAR shall defray the cost of travelling expenses and per diems.

Regions and provinces that are LAD free or nearing completion of land acquisition and distribution shall be given priority in the training of FSD Trainors. The FSD Institutionalization Management Committee will approve the final selection of regions and provinces to be covered by FSD Trainor's Training.

E.         Follow Through FSD Activities

It is foreseen that trained FSD trainors will be mobilized to undertake broader application of the FSD approach in the ARC development in both foreign-assisted ARCs and those under DAR's regular funding support.

FAO-SARC-TSARRD shall continue to cover ARCs under FAPs based upon the request from DAR The FSD Trainors shall work closely with FAO-SARC-TSARRD expert in the application of the FSD in all prioritized ARCs during the first year of the FSD institutionalization process. Starting the second year, the trained FSD trainors shall handle the FSD training-cum-planning exercises in these ARCs. FAO-SARC-TSARRD shall gradually reduce its direct intensive role in FSD training activities but will provide greater support and supervision in farm improvement, institutional strengthening, organization and management, resource mobilization and participatory monitoring and evaluation.

The DAR regional and field staff will carry out Phases 1, 2, and 3 activities of the FSD training-cum-planning exercises with minimal supervision from FAO-SARC-TSARRD. In collaboration with FAO-SARC-TSARRD, trained FSD trainors will manage and supervise Phases 4 and 5. These stages involve analysis of the farming system zones profiles and the formulation of the ARC development plan.

The budget requirement for the conduct of the training-cum-planning activities for a particular ARC shall be charged to the institutional development or training component budget of the FAPs covering the ARC or from DAR-ARBD fund.

F.         FSD Briefing and Orientation

Briefings and orientation on FSD approach will be conducted in order to ensure greater understanding and support of DAR management at all levels. FSD approach briefings, orientations and updates can be discussed during national, and regional conferences and meetings by the Bureau of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Development (BARBD), Project Development and Management Service (PDMS) and Bureau of Agrarian Information and Education (BARIE) in close collaboration with FAO-SARC-TSARRD.   IHaCDE

G.        Inclusion of FSD Activities in DAR's Regular Reporting and Assessment

Field activities pertaining to the application of the FSD approach shall be included in the regular ARC reports and assessment submitted by the filed offices. Such reports shall be presented and discussed during the regular ARC Task Force meetings and the Review and Planning Session (RPS) undertaken by DAR at all levels.

V.     Concrete Output of the FSD Approach

As essential output of the FSD activities that are undertaken at the field level is an ARC development plan which highlights the interventions and activities of farm households to increase their levels of productivity and farm income. The ARC plan includes development support activities that focus on improving farm households' productivity and profitability of farming as an enterprise. It presents the ARC and farming system zones profile, listing of identified problems, constraints, and the development interventions for on-farm improvement, non-farm related activities, support infrastructure, and institutional development. The plan shall be consistent with the investment and marketing plan or arrangement established to support the efforts of the communities in generating higher levels of productivity and income for the farmers.

It should be emphasized that the FSD is a tool that can substantially enhance the formulation of ARC development plan as this underscores the significance, of community-based farm planning to raise productivity and income.

VI.    Operational Mechanism

To institutionalize and mainstream the FSD approach within the Department, the following structures shall be established:

A.        FSD Institutionalization Management Committee (FSD-IMC)

            The Committee shall be composed of the following:

                       Assistant Secretary,

                                       DAR-Support Service Office        — Chairperson

                       CTA, FAO-SARC-TSARRD          — Co-Chairperson

                       Director, BARBD                          — Member

                       Director, BARRIE                          — Member

                       Director, PDMS                             — Member

                       Deputy Director FAPs                   — Member

                       Director, Planning                          — Member

            The FSD-IMC shall

           Provide over-all management and directions for the institutionalization of the FSD approach in the ARC development program of the Department;

           Make representations and establish linkages with GOs, NGOs and POs to solicit support and technical assistance to ensure the sustainability of FSD approach;

           Monitor and evaluate the institutionalization and mainstreaming of the FSD approach;

           Monitor and evaluate the institutionalization and mainstreaming of the FSD approach in the ARC development program.   HEaCcD

B.        FSD Institutionalization Technical Working Group (FSD-ITWG)

The FSD-ITWG shall be organized to oversee the operationalization of the FSD institutionalization. The assistant Director, BARBD shall be the Chairperson of the TWG. The members of the group shall be composed of at least one representative each (not lower than SARPO) form BARD, PDMS, FAPs Office, and Planning and SARC-TSARRD FSD Expert.

The FSD-ITWG shall have the following functions:

           oversee the preparation for ARC Development Plans using the FSD approach in all FAPs-assisted and DAR-funded ARCs,

           provide technical supervision and support to DAR regional and provincial offices in the application of the FSD approach to ARC development,

           serve as core FSD trainors at DARCO level,

           final review and packaging of ARC Development Plans prepared by the FSD teams based on the FSD approach,

           liaise and coordinate with CARP Implementing Agencies at national level and foreign-assisted projects for resource mobilization and funding support in the implementation of the ARC Development Plans;

           prepare annual workplan and budget to carry out FSD activities at national level for approval by the FSD-IMC;

           undertake monitoring and validation of FSD related activities through regular visits and field inspection.

C.        Secretariat

The Bureau of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Development (BARBD) shall provide secretariat support for both the FSD-ITWG. It shall perform the following functions:

           Receive and initially review regular progress and monitoring report from the regional and provincial offices and forward the same to FSD-ITWG with appropriate recommendations for endorsement to the FSD-IMC;

           Provide necessary staff support and secretariat services to FSD-IMC and FSD-ITWG;

           Coordinate with the regional and provincial offices on the generation of status reports.

At the regional and provincial level, the institutionalization and mainstreaming of the FSD approach in the ARC development program shall be lodged to the Support Services Division and to the Beneficiaries Development and Coordinating Division, respectively. The designated regional and provincial FSD coordinator shall serve as the institutionalization support arm at their respective levels. The Regional Director will be supported by technical staff from the SSD and BDCD. The technical staff to provide support to the coordinators should preferably be those who have undergone previous FSD activities training-cum-planning exercises

The FSD coordinator and support technical staff shall undertake the following functions and responsibilities:   CHcETA

           coordinate and assist in the preparation of ARC Development Plan using of the FSD approach;

           serve as core of FSD trainors at provincial level;

           review draft ARC Development Plans for submission to the regional/provincial FSD coordinator;

           coordinate and liaise with CARP implementing agencies at the regional, provincial and municipal levels for resource mobilization and funding support in the implementation of the ARC Development Plans;

           prepare annual workplan and budget for carrying out FSD activities in the region/province for approval by the RARO/PARO;

           submit regular progress and monitoring reports to the DARCO/RARO on the physical status and results of FSD approach in ARC Development in the province;

           undertake monitoring and validation of FSD related activities through regular visits and field inspection.

This Memorandum Circular takes effect immediately and supersedes all other issuances inconsistent herewith.

Done this 3rd day of June, 1998, Diliman, Quezon City.









Department of Agrarian Reform
Elliptical Road, Diliman
Quezon City, Philippines
Tel. No.: (632) 928-7031 to 39

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