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The Philippines’ agriculture industry can only increase its contribution to the country’s GDP, especially now that the private sector is playing an active role in developing the sector. The appointment of key officials is also helping raise confidence in the sector’s future.
This was the opinion of Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion, following President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s statement that the agriculture sector grew by 2.2 percent in the first quarter of 2023, contributing 9.1 percent to the country’s GDP.
“This is good news,” said Concepcion. “And once the recommendations of the private sector are considered, agri will become an even bigger contributor to the GDP of the country,” he said.
These recommendations are contained in the private sector’s Kapatid Angat Lahat sa Agri Program, or KALAP, and cover the challenge of achieving economies of scale, improving farmers’ access to credit, and the digitalization of the agriculture industry. Among KALAP’s recommendations is to intensify farm clustering, restructuring agriculture credit facilities to support inclusive business models, and the promotion of farm management information systems into commodity industries. These recommendations are hoped to integrate small farmers into the value chain of the large agri companies, helping the country’s agriculture industry become more productive, profitable, sustainable and globally competitive.
Concepcion said that the President’s choices for key people in the agriculture sector are helping buoy optimism in the sector’s future. “The President has appointed three key people: National Irrigation Administration head Eddie Guillen, DA Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian, and Department of Agrarian Reform Sec. Conrado Estrella III. The private sector, he said, is confident to work with these officials, as they are aligned with the President’s aim to expand access to markets and related enterprises by leveraging on private sector investments.
“When he was Mayor of Piddig, Engr. Guillen successfully worked with Universal Leaf Phils. and transformed the tobacco industry so well that we are now a leading exporter,” said Concepcion. Appointing a dedicated official like Usec. Sebastian to head the Rice Industry Development Program proves how committed the President is to our rice farmers, and Sec. Estrella will play one of the most important roles as he will have the task of helping us achieve economies of scale in agriculture by putting order to the various land issues that are getting in the way of consolidating farm lands,” he said.
“The President mentioned that the country’s economy will not prosper unless our agriculture sector does well. This is so true in every respect as a strong agriculture sector means more jobs, food security and a healthier workforce,” said Concepcion.