Baguio Country Club, – With the theme “enhancing the economic and social benefits of agriculture thru farm tourism”, around 160 farmers and investors from regions CAR, 1-3 gathered for the Agribusiness Support for Promotions and Investments for Regional Exposition (ASPIRE).
Dr. Cameron Odsey, DA-CAR regional executive director informed the participants that ASPIRE was piloted in the region last year. The department continually aspire for farmers to be more entrepreneurial, innovative, and competitive to meet the market needs, manage production and do these processes more efficiently and effectively.
The ASPIRE is a collaboration and networking between the government and the private sector spearheaded by the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry(PCCI).
The activity aims to harmonize the different existing programs of the different sectors and agencies for the market development of farmers which leads in lessening the gap between the producers and consumers to have a value-addition and increase income of the farmers.
The Director also gave thanks to the LGUs who are the frontlines of these activities and the farmers, fisherfolks, and processors who are the prime movers of the sector.
Market matching of 8 farmer producer groups with 7 potential buyers for potatoes, radish, lettuce and other highland vegetables were conducted as part of the exposition. One of the agreement made was for the buyers to visit production areas by July to match requirements such as specifications, volume and seasonality. Trade fair for farmer groups and MSMEs was also organized as a strategic platform for product promotion and market development.
Mr. Roberto Amores, Director for SME and Exports, and PCCI Chairman of the Agriculture and Fishery Committee reported that the past ASPIRE activity, P15 million worth of new capital business opportunities were opened. The farmers were able to learn how to improve their productivity, engaged in market opportunities, and capacity enhancement programs thru DA and DTI. The PCCI are also linking with other agencies to improve the technical capabilities of stakeholders.
Dr. Odsey continued that the DA endeavors to support ventures to develop the farm land, provide efficient technology, and assist in accessing funds and technical assistance to lessen poverty while making food available and affordable to all.
He also pointed-out that Cordillera is the watershed cradle of Northern Luzon supplying 13 major irrigation systems. Cordillera supplies water for agricultural production and powers hydro-electric dams. He then encourages the regions present, to invest more in the Cordillera as they will also, in a long term, invests in their respective areas.
“We implore you to invest in the region.” Dr. Odsey emphasized.
By Jenny Dayao and Jocelyn Beray