Marcos counting on millennial farmers to modernize Philippine agriculture

Marcos counting on millennial farmers to modernize Philippine agriculture

Helen Flores – The Philippine Star

March 7, 2023 | 12:00am

President Marcos chats with Maman Buano Layom, a 98-year-old coconut farmer from Palawan, during the signing of the Kapatid Angat sa Lahat Agri Program at Malacañang yesterday. KALAP is a Go Negosyo initiative that seeks to give MSMEs as well as farmers like Layom access to funding and mentorship from large corporations and bigger agriculture players. Also in photo are DILG Secretary Benhur Abalos and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion.

STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — President Marcos is counting on millennial farmers in the development of the country’s agriculture sector even as he vowed support for a private sector-led initiative that seeks to give small farmers and fishers access to funding and mentorship from big agribusinesses.

“Our millennial farmers are using the best technologies with the complete support of a value chain that supports them and that supports their needs and is producing for our country and making our country safe, making our country secure, and making our country a viable player in the international market,” Marcos said in a speech at the ceremonial signing of a memorandum of agreement on the Kapatid Angat Lahat for Agriculture Program (KALAP) program at Malacañang yesterday.

Marcos concurrently serves as secretary of the Department of Agriculture.

A Go Negosyo initiative, KALAP aims to encourage large corporations to help

micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) by including them in their value chain.

Marcos cited KALAP, which he said would enable farmers and the country’s MSMEs to become “more productive, profitable, sustainable and globally competitive.”

“We know very well how MSMEs are crucial in the creation of new ideas, of jobs and wealth in the country, so it is only right that we recognize the power and the influence that this sector holds,” the President said.

“We also recognize the role of big corporations in (innovating) MSMEs, spurring their growth, and realizing their potential. Hence, I am very happy to note the objective of the KALAP to integrate small farmers and agri-entrepreneurs into the value chain of large companies,” he said.

Marcos also lauded Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion for helping the country’s MSMEs. Concepcion currently serves as the Private Sector Advisory Council job sector lead.

“The partnerships that Go Negosyo has been fostering for many years are precisely the kind of partnerships that we are hoping to bring together,” the President.

“That is what we are trying to do, and that’s what Go Negosyo has been doing for a very long time. However now, I am very happy to be able to say that the government is very supportive of all of these kinds of partnerships that we need to bring together,” he said.

Concepcion said the agriculture sector accounts for a quarter of the total number of jobs in the country.

In the same event, Marcos shared a light moment with Maman Buanoy Layom, a 98-year-old coconut farmer from Palawan.

Layom is a beneficiary of Lionheart Farms, one of the firms in the Philippines helping small farmers.

“He’s a very interesting man. He has stories he could tell. But in a little time we had I think we enjoyed ourselves,” the Chief Executive said.

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