A 3-day programs review and assessment and budget planning was conducted by SIFI last November 6-9, 2019.
Eighteen staff from the foundation including the Responsible Sourcing for Smallholders (RSS) Project team participated in the event. There were 4 parts to the program: 1) Project Updates; 2) Variance Analysis; 3) Quarter 4 Roadmap; and 4) 2020 Forecast and Budget Consolidation. In between breaks, skills enhancement and productivity tools were introduced to the SIFI staff as part of their competency-building.
SIFI President and COO Edith Y. Villanueva highlighted the current challenges in the sugar industry as well as the new technologies that needed to be embraced in order to remain relevant and updated. She also stressed that SIFI needs to align its programs to address the present challenges such as mechanization, better farm practices, child labor mitigation and appropriate technical skills education. She also shared the current threats in the labor sector, migration of workers to the construction boom and the scarcity of harvesters.
The gathering was a productive venue for the staff to report their accomplishments for 2019 and raise their sectoral issues and come-up with alternative solutions for better project output. This was followed by their proposed budgets for year 2020 in line with the SIFI’s four pillars of development which are Education, Health, Livelihood and Advocacy.
Among the concerns cited by the project officers were scholars who needed to be dropped or terminated due to failure to reach the required GWA of 80 or 85for consecutive semesters, Ms. Edith addressed this concern by challenging the staff to improve their recruitment policies and monitoring and guidance of their scholars. Another concern was how to avoid delays in reimbursement claims from the Hospitalization Advantage Plan of SIFI.
This annual planning workshop provides SIFI an excellent opportunity for a review, clarification and affirmation of what SIFI means to its stakeholders and what it seeks to deliver to its sugar-producing communities.