DTI Sec. Lopez to agri-industry: ‘Think business’

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez emphasized the relevance of infusing an entrepreneurial mindset in the agriculture industry during the Go Negosyo Mentor Me Innovation Forum on Agriculture held at the University of the Philippines Los BaAos on 1 September.

"We believe that having an entrepreneurial mindset is really the way to level up and be successful. This is the lasting solution to poverty," said Secretary Lopez, highlighting that many resources that unlock opportunities are in regions with high poverty incidence.

He reiterated before an assembly of audience composed of farmers, agricultural-based entrepreneurs, practitioners and stakeholders the government's priority to boost programs promoting countryside development through agricultural and rural enterprises.

Secretary Lopez discussed the general condition of the Philippine industry and noted that while there has been remarkable growth, high poverty incidence remains in agricultural areas, which contribute 60% to the country's total employment.

He referred to CARAGA, Cagayan Valley, Ilocos and Eastern Visayas as resource-rich regions with enormous growth potentials, in view of the vast source of high-value crops, which when effectively processed, can play fair in the mainstream market competition.

Innovative value adding will enhance the competitiveness of Philippine industries that will lead to greater job generation for the people, according to him.

An advocate of micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) development, Secretary Lopez also lectured on the goals and strategies indicated in the country's existing agricultural-based roadmaps to address supply gaps in cacao, bamboo, rubber and coconut. He encouraged the audience to seize these opportunities, which are crucial in attaining the country's agri-industry development.

Based on cluster approach and focused on domestic and global value chains, the regional industry roadmaps set the vision, as well as provide directions to address binding constraints to the growth of Philippine industries, which require multi-sectoral participation. These roadmaps also aim at capacitating Filipino entrepreneurs to score well in the stiffer competition posed by the ASEAN economic integration.

The trade secretary also shared DTI initiatives on agribusiness development engaging MSMEs, including the establishment of more than 2,000 Shared Service Facilities (SSF) and 265 Negosyo Centers across the country, with more than 300,000 clients already served.

He also shared to aspiring entrepreneurs the recent signing of a Joint Memorandum Circular among the DTI, the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Department of Information and Communications Technology to streamline business processing and licensing system (BPLS).

Organized by the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship, in partnership with UP Los BaAos, the public forum aimed at reinforcing Filipinos' entrepreneurial spirit through education and various capacity-building activities.

The forum also witnessed messages from Senator Cynthia Villar, Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines Effie Ben Matityau, Go Negosyo Founding Trustee and Presidential Consultant for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion, Sterling Paper Group of Companies Chairman and CEO Henry Lim Bon Liong, Caleta Corporation Chairman and CEO Joseph Calata and other agri-based business owners.

Source: Philippine Information Agency

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