MANILA — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Monday said his administration would support initiatives that would give small farmers and fishers opportunities to partner with large agribusinesses.
Marcos Jr. gave the statement during the signing of the Kapatid Angat sa Lahat Agri Program (KALAP), a GoNegosyo project that seeks to help local farmers and fisherfolk gain access to funding and mentorship from bigger agri players.
“In agriculture, sometimes we get caught up because productivity is so important… and sometimes what gets lost in that discussion is what is going to be the profit that goes back to the farmers and in the end, this is really what it is all about,” the President said.
“There is no sector of society that can manage the recovery by itself. It cannot be done unless the different sectors of society are working together, trying to implement a plan with a common understanding of what needs to be done, a common understanding of what people need,” he said.
Marcos Jr. thanked banks and large agricultural companies who would mentor Filipino farmers and fisherfolk to “become more productive, profitable, sustainable and globally competitive.”
“I am very, 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.
“Perhaps, with government's support, we will be able to give it an added impetus so that we progress much more quickly and much further,” he added.
GoNegosyo founder Joey Concepcion urged financial institutions to open more programs for small players in the agricultural sector.
“Financing is a challenge because not many want to take the risk in agriculture,” Concepcion said.
“But sometimes we must take that risk… and I appeal to the banks that we must lend to these people, provided that they are guided by the big brothers we have her today so they can be guided,” he said.
He also “encouraged more big agricultural companies to become big brothers to farmers.”
“That is the way forward that the Philippines can change its agricultural landscape,” he said.
The government earlier said that around 90 percent of businesses in the Philippines are classified as micro, small or medium enterprises.
Last year, the Marcos administration said that empowering MSMEs is among its priorities.
“I once again give my utmost assurance and commitment that your government is here to help you level up and succeed, especially during these difficult times,” the President said during the MSME Summit held in Manila last year.
“We will harness the strengths of various sectors to ensure a more cohesive government approach in creating a more sustainable environment for our MSMEs and all our important stakeholders,” he said.