Ladies and gentlemen, magandang araw po sa inyong lahat!

Thank you to our kababayans here for joining us in this Trabaho, Negosyo, Kabuhayan (or TNK) Webinar Series to discuss many business opportunities in the Philippine agribusiness industry. We hear many of you are presently in the ASEAN region, Australia and New Zealand, South Asia, and the Middle East. We would also like to thank our Foreign Trade Service Corp (FTSC) for organizing today’s program, and for continuously serving our overseas Filipino communities.

Because of COVID-19, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte had ordered the government to intensify giving assistance to those affected by the economic challenges of the pandemic, especially overseas Filipinos who were forced to be repatriated home. That’s why—in a whole-of-government approach—the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) consolidated its programs and initiatives with other agencies to support our kababayans who have returned home by providing them with a source and means of income.

Launched last March by DTI and the Department of Agriculture (DA) as part of the Sub-Task Group on Agribusiness, the “Agri Negosyo Para Sa OFWs” Program provides you with business opportunities available within the agriculture and agribusiness sector. Aside from today’s webinar, the opportunities in this program are available in our Agribusiness Portfolio, which you can find online. Sama-sama po ang lahat ng government agencies para maipadala po sa inyo ang opportunities sa agribusiness.

This program serves a dual purpose. The first, of course, is to give you a means of income once you come home. The second is to boost our agriculture sector to become a modern, high-value agribusiness sector that can strengthen our country’s food value chain and provide our people with nutritious food. This will also strengthen the value chain between agribusiness and large companies through the proper integration of agriculture and business. Ibig sabihin po yaong mga na-produce ninyo ay pupuwedeng i-supply sa mga malalaking kumpanya. This, in turn, will open the way towards regional industrialization and support our country’s national growth and development. 

Why agribusiness, you may ask? Likas po sa mga Pilipino ang maging maalaga,at kahit sa isang maliit na lugar po natin, kaya na natin patakbuhin ang ating agribusiness. Ang agriculture po ay laging ma-ko-convert din po sa pagkain. Definitely, ito pong agribusiness ay puwedeng pang-simula na kahit nasa urban o rural areas ka pa. We’d like to highlight the resilience and growth of our country’s agriculture sector last year, when it contracted only by a mere 0.2%. This despite having to contend with the year-long inclement weather, several typhoons, the eruption of Taal Volcano, and the disruption brought about by the pandemic. Compare this with the decline in output last year of Industry and Services at -13.1% and -9.1%, respectively. Agriculture also accounted for 10.2% of the country’s total GDP in 2020, and engaged about 25% of total employment. And while this shows that now is the best time to invest in agribusiness, it also shows the significance of this sector in our country’s recovery from the pandemic.

For many of you here in today’s webinar, we’d like to point out that this is a prime opportunity for you to plan what business you can start or invest in when you return home. In fact, puwede po itong paumpisahan sa inyong mga kamag-anak. Hindi naman po kailangang hintayin kayong umuw dahil puwede sa kanilang pag-alagaan. These opportunities in agribusiness will surely provide you a decent income at home and you won’t need to leave your family and loved ones behind anymore to find work abroad. But to sustain any business venture—even in agribusiness—you need to determine the kind of business you’re comfortable with. Sa agribusiness, marami po kayong pagpipilian. As we’ve always reiterated in our DTI programs to support Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), passion is one factor that can play a big role in determining the business you want to pursue.

For example, if you would like to raise breeder ducks, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) can provide the Itik Pilipinas breed. This breed has higher productivity, shorter brooding and rearing periods, and longer laying periods as compared to the normal duck breed. Likewise, if you live in an urban area but you want to start a vegetable plot, the DA’s Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) and Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) make available garden starter kits and farm inputs through their ATIng Gulayan.

On DTI’s part, we can help you grow your agribusiness either through processing or converting to higher value-add products via our Shared Service Facilities (SSFs) and Negosyo Centers. The SSFs can improve the competitiveness of MSMEs by providing machinery, equipment, tools, skills, and knowledge that they can use under a shared system. Meanwhile, our Negosyo Centers promote entrepreneurship development by helping our entrepreneurs in setting up and operating their businesses through various MSME programs. Presently, we have 2,751 SSFs as of December 2020 and 1,176 Negosyo Centers as of March 2021 nationwide ready to help you. Ito pong Negosyo Centers ay mayroon na rin pong online, kaya hindi niyo na po kailangang pumunta.

Furthermore, DTI has programs that support agribusiness, such the Rural Agro-Industrial Partnership for Inclusive Development and Growth (or RAPID Growth) project. DTI partnered with DA on this project, which provides value chain-based and climate-smart assistance and financing to agriculture-based MSMEs. We also have projects specifically tailored overseas Filipinos like microfinancing and lending programs managed by our Small Business Corporation (SBCorp). These programs include the Pondo sa Pagbabago and Pag-asenso (or P3) and Helping the Economy Recover thru OFW Enterprise Start-up (or HEROES).

To conclude, we thank our kababayans for participating in our webinar and we invite you to participate in our upcoming TNK webinars on Bonds, Startups and Franchising, courtesy of our Philippine Trade and Investment Centers (PTICs). We hope that you will invest and start your own agribusiness so that not only will you have a nest egg when you come home, you will also aid our country in building back better towards a more hopeful post-pandemic future.

Maraming salamat po at mabuhay tayong lahat!

Date of Release: 4 May 2021