11 October 2017 | Manila, Philippines
Former Agriculture Secretary and President of InangLupa Movement Dr. William Dar praised ASEAN Business Advisory Council Chair Joey Concepcion for spearheading the importance of agriculture and agripreneurship in fostering shared prosperity through The ASEAN Agriculture Summit 2017. The first of its kind organized by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council, the event attracted close to 1,500 local and international delegates who were interested in learning about the current successful models in inclusive contract growing, industrial farming, land consolidation, agri-enterprise development, agri value-chain, value-added agri extension services, inclusive business, and technology & innovation.
“This summit focused today on informing, inspiring, and connecting ASEAN agriculture stakeholders towards accelerating modernization and industrialization of agriculture under the context of an inclusive, entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Dr. Dar said in his speech which presented the highlights of the summit and the way forward.
Senator Cynthia Villar also congratulated Chair Concepcion on bringing together various stakeholders in agriculture to champion the plight of poor farmers, fisherfolk and agri-workers through entrepreneurship. Senator Villar, as the Committee Chairperson on Agriculture in the Philippine Senate, touched on the current policies that are being pushed to improve the lives of those in agriculture such as the extension of the Agricultural Competitiveness and Enhancement Fund (RA 10848) and the development and promotion of farm tourism (RA 10816).
“Prosperity will not come to pass if we do not work together to improve the plight of farmers, fisherfolk and agricultural workers as well as removing the barriers that prevent them from being more competitive and profitable”, said Senator Villar, “Agripreneurship is the long term solution of lifting them out of poverty. We have to tell them that they are agri entrepreneurs and that that their small farms are their agribusiness.”
Council Chair Concepcion in turn congratulated all those who took part in the historic event. In his speech, he imparted the spirit behind the event, his takeaways from his twelve years of rallying for the development of micro and small entrepreneurs, and the challenge of setting up an enabling ecosystem for agripreneurship. Furthermore, Concepcion stressed on the importance of the convergence of all stakeholders and sectors in making the vision of prosperity for all a reality.
“If we really want to change the landscape of prosperity for all in this country, the poor rice and coconut farmers have to be paid attention to. The private sector has to eventually realize the importance of helping. It has to come from the heart, our heart–how much are we willing to share from our wealth? (…) I’ve devoted a lot of time to really seeing and driving the point that partnering for change and creating prosperity for all is not a mere theme but something that all of us together has to achieve. And in the end, agri can only be the game changer if all of you want to see it happen,” said Concepcion in closing.