Collective action to which markets? ATSAL in the Philippines uri icon


  • The Agroforestry Tree Seeds Association of Lantapan (ATSAL) in Bukidnon province, southern Philippines was organized in 1998, facilitated by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). Farmers were trained ongermplasm collection, processing and marketing of agroforestry tree seeds and seedlings. ATSAL has been marketing various tree seeds and seedlings with apparent success. It also provided training on seed collection and nursery management to farmers, government technicians, and workers from non-government organizations (NGOs). This paper reports on the initial results of an on-going study to assess the effectiveness of ATSALâ??s marketing strategy, including group dynamics, and the issues and challenges the group face. It was found that during the first two years, ATSALâ??s market share of greatly demanded timber tree species, e.g., Maesopsis eminii increased significantly, thus helping to disseminate widely these important species among farmers. ICRAFâ??s technical back-up was an advantage, increasing the Associationâ??s market credibility. Subsequently, ATSAL extended its market to the central Philippines, but failed to meet the demand of seeds due to organizational limitations. Market competition exists, where a non-member was able to take a large market share than was the group. Nonetheless, ATSAL has established its name as a viable community-based seed and seedling producer, maintaining a stronghold in local and regional markets. Collective action is important for smallholders to break in, and gain market access, but is unlikely to sustain without effective leadership and on-going facilitation, thus requiring expenditures on â??repairs and maintenanceâ?� through continuous technical and leadership training for the collective, and technical back-up and facilitation by an intermediary. Finally, organizing smallholder collective action is essentially an arduous task, requiring the supporting agency to hold a firm grasp of market realities, to invest in the maintenance of social capital, to provide continuous technical back-up, and to ascertain the conditions that make collective action succeed

publication date

  • 2006