Fluctuating Fortunes of a Collective Enterprise: The Case of the Agroforestry Tree Seeds Association of Lantapan (ATSAL) in the Philippines uri icon

abstract

  • The Agroforestry Tree Seeds Association of Lantapan (ATSAL) in Bukidnon province of Mindanao, Philippines, was organized in 1998, facilitated by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). Farmers were trained on germplasm collection, processing and marketing of agroforestry tree seeds and seedlings. ATSAL has been marketing various tree seeds and seedlings with apparent success, and has provided training on seed collection and nursery management to farmers, government technicians, and workers from non-government organizations. This paper reports initial results of a continuing study to assess the effectiveness of ATSAL's marketing strategy, including group dynamics, and the issues and challenges the group faces. It was found that during the first 2 years, ATSAL's market share of highly demanded timber tree species grew rapidly, thus helping to disseminate widely these important species among farmers. ICRAF's technical back-up was an advantage, increasing the Association's market credibility. Subsequently, ATSAL extended its market to the central Philippines, but failed to meet the demand for seeds due to organizational limitations. Market competition exists, where a non-member was able to take a larger market share than was the groupNonetheless, 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 gain market access, but is unlikely to sustain sales. Facilitating 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 collective action, to provide continuous technical back-up, and to ascertain the conditions that make collective action succeed

publication date

  • 2008
  • 2008