In line with the Sub Task Group on Agribusiness (STGA)’s response to the President’s directive for government agencies to provide sources of livelihood and employment to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) affected by the pandemic, Commercial Counsellor Magnolia Ashley and Agriculture Counsellor Maria Araceli Escandor organized the webinar “AgriNegosyo Para sa mga Overseas Pinoys” on 13 March in coordination with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Department of Agriculture (DA), and the Philippine Embassy in Bern together with the Philippine Mission to the United Nations and the Philippine Mission to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Key officials of these agencies and offices served as resource speakers.

AgriNegosyo for OFs Webinar through Zoom

AgriNegosyo for OFWs through Zoom

The webinar provided Overseas Filipinos (OFs) and prospective investors (OFIs) with information in starting an agribusiness, identifying investment opportunities, crafting business plans and studies, accessing financing programs, trainings, available technology, and rebuilding network and linkages in all stages of the agriculture value chain. The activity was also a very good example of inter-agency collaboration towards a common goal of assisting OFs.

The webinar was opened by Ambassador Denis Lepatan of the Philippine Embassy in Bern. Ambassador Manuel Teehankee of the Philippine Mission to the WTO provided an overview of the AgriNegosyo inititative. It was a full line-up of speakers led by DA Undersecretary Cheryl Natividad-Caballero who shared “Agribusiness Opportunities”, followed by DTI  Undersecretary Rafaelita Aldaba who presented the “Innovations and Opportunities in Agri-Entrepreneurship”. Ms. Bernadette Audije explained Technical Education and Skills Development Authority’s (TESDA) Agri-Business Training and Workshops while Ms. Azel Solano expounded on Small Business Corporation’s “Kapit Kamay tungo sa Panibagong Buhay Bayanihan CARES for MSMEs and OFWs”.

Post also featured a success story of Chef Dennis Lunar, a Filipino who started as a sushi chef in a Japanese restaurant in Basel for six years. Then, he decided to be his own boss and open his own sushi restaurant. In three years, he expanded to two branches in Basel and Luzern. Due to the pandemic, however, the restaurants were closed for one year. Throughout the lockdown, he developed products like tocino, longanisa and finally perfected the “Pinoy Pride” red hotdog. It is the closest to the well-loved pinoy hotdogs and he is already receiving orders from Pinoys all over Europe and will be expanding his operations in Germany.

The open forum allowed the speakers to address questions raised by Filipinos in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. The webinar was streamed in DTI Switzerland Facebook page and shared in the Facebook pages of the Philippine Embassy – Berne and Philippine Consulate – Geneva. Ambassador Evan Garcia of the Philippine Mission to the UN in Geneva delivered the closing remarks to cap the event.♦

Date of Release: 17 March 2021