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In my 12 years of rallying for the development of micro and small entrepreneurs, I’ve seen that the majority of the poor come from the agriculture sector — they are the small farmers and fisher folk who toil tirelessly every day but get meager returns in exchange for feeding the nation. With 35 percent of our population working under this sector, it is no question that if we want to achieve greater prosperity, the agriculture sector must be empowered and transformed.
That is why, as the ASEAN Business Advisory Council chair, I could not let the year end without making the ASEAN Agriculture Summit happen. We were commended that this was the first summit in ASEAN’s 50 years that focused on agriculture and agripreneurship. This is surprising, primarily because half of the ASEAN nations garner most of their GDP from the agricultural sector. If we want the vision of prosperity for all to come to reality, we must continue to champion the development of this sector.
It was indeed overwhelming to see that more than a thousand people attended the recently concluded ASEAN Agriculture Summit. Of course, all this would not have been possible if not for the collaboration of both the private and the public sectors, and our guest speakers from across ASEAN. We were privileged to have the likes of Sen. Cynthia Villar and former DA secretary Dr. William Dar.
I hope that those who attended learned something from the rich discussions led by our outstanding panelists. May the lessons imparted be more than just words, but a spark to take the road towards greater prosperity for all.