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Former Department of Agriculture Secretary William Dar has joined Go Negosyo’s Kapatid Angat Lahat as Head of its Agriculture program. Kapatid Angat Lahat aims to encourage medium and large corporations to help micro and small enterprises by including them in their value chain.
“When we first introduced Kapatid Angat Lahat in 2016, we saw that for MSMEs to grow and evolve from micro to small, small to medium, and medium to large, they need the three M’s of money, market and mentoring, which can come with the help of big-brother corporations,” said Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion. Last August 26 at the 2022 MSME Summit, a total of 37 organizations committed to its ideals and signed a pledge which was later presented to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Mr. Dar served as Secretary of Agriculture under former President Rodrigo Duterte. He was also the first director of the Philippine Bureau of Agricultural Research, and served as an executive director of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development.
Along with Dar, Kapatid Angat Lahat will also be guided by inputs from the Department of Local and Interior Government Sec. Benhur Abalos. “The experience and expertise of former Sec. Dar and Sec. Abalos will be of great help in finding solutions to how we can uplift our micro-farmers,” Concepcion said. The Go Negosyo founder recently presided over a meeting that brought together former Sec. Dar, National Irrigation Administration chief and former Piddig Mayor Eddie Guillen, Universal Leaf Phils. (ULP) President Winston Uy, and Lionheart Farms CEO and Co-Founder Christian Eyde Moeller. Another meeting is set for January to tackle the role of local government units in encouraging agri-microentrepreneurship.
“I would like to believe that there are existing models to improve upon,” Dar remarked, with reference to the success of models adopted by ULP and Lionheart. “Now, with the coming in of Go Negosyo through the Kapatid Angat Lahat program for agro-microentrepreneurship, we need to elevate these models by way of looking at them through a number of lenses,” he said. Among these lenses are productivity, value chain analysis, sustainability, resiliency and inclusivity.
“Private sector cannot do it alone,” said Concepcion. “It needs to work with the LGUs and their leadership. Together we must provide an enabling environment that can help our country’s micro-farmers grow and become entrepreneurs,” said Concepcion. Among the first approaches would be to focus on four key crops, namely rice, coconut, corn and tobacco.
Concepcion cited the experience of Guillen in working with ULP and turning the province’s moribund tobacco industry into an exporting powerhouse by examining the industry’s value chain and the socio-economic structures surrounding it. In Palawan, Lionheart Farms is being cited as an example of how a large company can help small farmers using a system similar to nucleus estate farming, where small farmers or cooperatives enter into contract agreements with big companies, who provide the large initial investments and resources necessary for a farm to profitably operate. “Christian Moeller has a fantastic model that can help our micro-farmers,” observed Concepcion.
Uplifting the country’s agriculture sector is seen as especially crucial to job generation, a key priority of the Marcos administration and the jobs sector led by Concepcion as a member of the Private Sector Advisory Council.
“More than 62 percent of the jobs generated in the Philippines come from MSMEs, and a big part of these MSMEs come from the agriculture sector,” said Concepcion. He explained that the most challenged among these MSMEs are in the agriculture sector, most especially those operating at the smallest scale, or the micro-farmers. “We will aim to scale up our micro-farmers so they can become entrepreneurs, help them grow from micro to small, small to medium, and in the process, create more jobs for Filipinos, especially in the countryside,” he said.
Beyond agriculture, Kapatid Angat Lahat will also have programs that will cover other sectors, including retail, where many micro-entrepreneurs can be found.