Teaching Philippine Coconut Farmers the Importance of Financial Management

Posted on 08/26/2022

It has been my pleasure to have had the opportunity to collaborate with members of the Datag Kaanib Coconut Farmers Organization to provide training on the basic concepts of financial management. The objective of this project was to help Datag Kaanib understand the importance of maintaining current financial records that accurately reflect their financial activities. This is even more important as this organization aims to transition to a cooperative that will have revenue generating activities such as from the sale of coconuts and its by-products. This organization’s social mission is to develop and improve skills, promote productivity, and increase farm income. Furthering the organization’s mission will help create jobs and employment for the coconut farmers and help create self-sustaining households in the coconut producing community. Like many organizations of this size in the Philippines, its financial processes are paper based, and it is challenged to capture the entire life cycle of transactions that comprise its full range of operations. This greatly impacts Datag Kaanib from obtaining a true picture of its financial position and make appropriate decisions that can further its mission. Further, the Treasurer and Auditor who are key members of the organization had not been formally trained on how to account for the monthly transactions.

The Grameen team conducted initial meetings with the members of Datag Kaanib including its Treasurer and Auditor to validate our understanding of the existing financial records. This proved to be highly effective in obtaining an understanding of the current operations as well as using this information to compare with best practices used by the accounting rules applicable in the Philippines. The results of a gap analysis resulted in a list of recommendations that Datag Kaanib management could consider for implementation. Recommendations included consideration of setting up a cooperative to help coconut farmers that would result in sustainable revenues. The application of financial management techniques is a crucial step not only to manage the finances of Datag Kaanib but use the recommendations to manage their personal finances. The training program also focused on key controls that are currently missing and need to be implemented to effectively secure the custody of its existing assets which currently are primarily the cash balance they maintain.

My heartfelt thanks to members of Catanduanes State University (Nikkay Marquez, Sir Oweng and Sir Domel) as well as Michael Pascual and Judith Agnoletto of Grameen Foundation for the leadership and project management skills to keep this project on track.

Datag Kaanib’s members expressed their appreciation of the recommendations made by the volunteer team of advisors as they obtained a better grasp of the best practices used in the financial reporting of the agricultural industry operations. The issues identified were a critical aspect of financial reporting that should help Datag Kaanib produce regular financial statements which follow the accounting principles used in the Philippines.

I hope that I have future opportunities to leverage my experience working on the Datag Kaanib engagement and gain additional knowledge of the people, business practices, and culture of the Philippines.

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