Go Negosyo Founder and current Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Mr. Joey Concepcion, has time and again rallied behind agriculture as a gamechanger. But what does this statement really mean? How does agriculture really affect our economy? And in the long run, how can agriculture truly make a positive impact for the Filipino people?
1. Agriculture takes development to rural areas
According to an interview we conducted with Dr. William Dar, agripreneurship can bolster rural development and create sustainable economies in many rural areas. Agripreneurship as a portmanteau for agriculture and entrepreneurship and puts forward the concept of agriculture as no longer limited to mere production but one that can be fortified by entrepreneurship. When agriculture becomes a viable of source of income for rural communities, these areas can also begin to develop in terms of other industries.
2. Agricultural development can lead to food security
It is obvious that agriculture is the food source of nation. The Philippines is considered to be one of the most biodiverse areas in the world and the agricultural sector counts for about two-thirds of the country’s employment. Why is it then that the workers in agriculture are also the most food insecure and susceptible to malnutrition? When agricultural development progresses, through modernizing and good governance, the Philippines can begin to have food that is sufficient and accessible to everyone. When workers in the agri industry are well-compensated and gain purchasing power, they are able to buy food and at the same time sufficient food supplies will drive prices down.
3. Agriculture is the key to unlock economic self-sufficiency
For micro, small and medium enterprises, agripreneurship and its game-changing potential can create a culture of economic self-sufficiency. Many sectors depend on agriculture to provide raw materials. When the Philippines can produce high-quality raw materials internally, the need to export these materials will no longer exist. Creating a strong agricultural sector can in fact lead economic progress through export.
4. Agriculture can lead to poverty reduction
Due to sheer number of workers in the agricultural industry, many of whom fall below the poverty line, improving their lives through the development of their industry can positively contribute to the reduction of poverty. Agripreneurship is seen as one way for workers in the agricultural sector to become empowered citizens. By transferring entrepreneurial knowledge and skills to the agricultural industry, many Filipinos whose source of livelihood is in agriculture are able to bolster their income and savings. However, the challenge for agripreneurs is how to become more competitive. ““There are only 8,195 MSMEs in agriculture, forestry, and fishing or approximately 1% of the total 896,839 MSMEs,” Dr. William Dar says. Furthermore, not many farmers are aware and interested in transitioning into agriprneurship. “Farmers must be given access to credit, capacity training, links to manufacture and trade, etc.”
This is why the Kapatid Agri Mentor Me Program (KAMMP) is a timely initiative for the betterment of our nation. KAMMP hopes to tap agri workers from all regions and give them a crash course on agripreneurship with the aid of experts who will act as their mentors. KAMMP is a project by the Department of Agriculture and Go Negosyo and will begin its launch this July and will cover all the country’s regions.