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Agri-based micro-entrepreneurship seen as key to securing food supply

PHILSTAR

THE government’s goal of achieving food security will depend on promoting entrereneurship in agriculture, according to Go Negosyo founder Jose Maria A. Concepcion III.

In a statement Sunday, Mr. Concepcion said the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) presented various proposals to President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. on Dec. 9, which included programs to develop agricultural microenterpreneurs, to upskill workers, and to make the Philippines attractive for domestic and international investment.

Mr. Concepcion, a PSAC member, said that agri-microenterpreneurs would provide a boost to job creation, but will require larger companies to integrate small businesses into their supply chains.

“Micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) provide more than 62% to jobs in the Philippines. Helping grow microentrepreneurs in the agriculture sector is a more challenging task than in the retail sector and to scale them up will need the participation of large companies,” Mr. Concepcion said.

Mr. Concepcion said he plans to focus on agri-microentepreneurs via the Kapatid Angat Lahat (KAL) program, which began in 2016 as a means of encouraging medium and large corporations to make micro and small enteprises part of their value chains.

“We are not talking here of doleouts, but of a sustainable and inclusive way where both parties can benefit and prosper,” Mr. Concepcion said.

“KAL will give access to the farmers a business model that will include mentoring and access to money and markets. This is being done now. We only need to scale up,” he added.

Mr. Concepcion said local government unit (LGU) involvement improves the program’s prospects.

“With the right leadership at the local level, the chances for success are higher. They will also help us pinpoint which LGUs are ready for this,” Mr. Concepcion said.

“Former Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar will join the KAL as an adviser to its agriculture program. Also being tapped for KAL are Local Government Secretary Benjamin C. Abalos, Jr. and Piddig, Ilocos Norte Mayor Eddie Guillen,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mr. Concepcion said that the KAL program would give way for a Food Security Council, which will push to ensure food security in the country.

“For now, we will do our best to make this work. The confidence is high because large agri-entrepreneurs and local government will be behind this program, with the President’s blessing,” Mr. Concepcion said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

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