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The Philippines is inherently an agricultural country. Its potential is high as we gear the sector towards higher productivity and encourage more processed and value-added products. We envision more farmers becoming more entrepreneurial with better income. This will attract the youth to reconsider farming and other agricultural activities, instead of heading to the cities.
There are boundless opportunities in this sector. This is why Go Negosyo chose to devote its eighth book, Go Negosyo: 50 Inspiring Stories of Agri-Entrepreneurs, to celebrate agriculture and to encourage more Filipinos to go back to farming and fishing as an entrepreneurial venture.
As we launched the book on March 5, we felt the strong support from the agriculture community. Senator Francis â€œKikoâ€ Pangilinan and his Sagip Saka program have been our solid partners. Sagip Saka has also been assisting farmers and fisherfolk in uplifting their income and saving their lives from poverty.
We are grateful to other supporters like Justin Uy, who is the countryâ€™s biggest exporter of various processed mango products. Thanks also to Mang Inasalâ€™s Injap Sia and Vibal Publishingâ€™s Esther Vibal for helping make this Agri book project a reality.
The biggest names in agriculture joined us in celebration during the launch: Winston Uy, the largest producer of tobacco in the country; Lyndon Tan, recognized National Farmer of the year; and Senen Bacani, one of the largest banana exporters, among many others.
Every conversation I had with every agri-entrepreneur was very interesting. For instance, Mylene Matti, founder and executive director of GreenEarth Heritage Foundation, shared fascinating trivia about their venture. Their foundation received over 100 hectares of land in San Miguel, Bulacan, as a donation. They converted it into a plantation that promotes organic farming. I could not agree more when she said that for an agriculture business to prosper, it requires believing in the transformation of the land at hand, and loving the farmers who would be working on this land to help it bear fruit.
The book is filled with interesting and inspiring stories of agri-entrepreneurs. It features Henry Lim Bon Liong, who ventured into hybrid rice even with the success of his Sterling Group; Edith Dacuycuy, a mother who started planting dragon fruit initially for her childâ€™s medicine, but later on turned it into her negosyo; business partners and chocolate lovers Rob Crisostomo and Bea Misa, who started promoting cocoa production; Martin and Pilamar Ozaeta, with their fresh farm egg business Gemsun, which they named after the words â€œgemâ€ and â€œsun,â€ believing that it would bring them luck; Michael Escaler, who left his high-paying job in trading houses in the US to trade sugar in the Philippines and change the negative image of commodity traders; and Monastery Farms, a coffee plantation run by monks, where one of the best coffees in the country is produced. The book features a diversity of agri-entrepreneurs from all over the country. Each of them has unique and successful business models that readers can learn from.
This book is for Filipinos. A great blessing is right here in our land. We must learn to nurture it. In the end, agri-entrepreneurship will bring our country towards prosperity.