Agri busi­ness­man Arse­nio ‘Toto’ Barcelona takes a se­cond look at the Philip­pine Hor­ti­cul­ture In­dus­try’s liveli­hood pos­si­bil­i­ties. There are so many op­por­tu­ni­ties in this sec­tor that have not been fully har­nessed. He fo­cuses on the ne­glected sec­tor of our

Agriculture - - News -

MY IN­VOLVE­MENT with the Go Negosyo Ka­p­atid Agri Men­tor Me Pro­gram (KAMMP), spear­headed by the Philip­pine Cen­ter for En­trepreneur­ship of Joey Con­cep­cion and the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture headed by Sec­re­tary Manny Piñol has taken me out of my com­fort zone.

In­deed, the past year has been a con­tin­u­ous eye opener on how agribusi­ness can be­come sus­tain­able for young farm­ers who are just be­gin­ning to re­al­ize the dif­fi­culty of en­ter­prise de­vel­op­ment. Even friends who had been in agribusi­ness for sev­eral years see the need to be men­tored on how to up­scale their blos­som­ing en­ter­prises. With our oc­ca­sional get-to­geth­ers, many of our suc­cess­ful friends in the in­dus­try are also fired-up to men­tor young en­ter­pris­ing agri-en­trepreneurs.

Ac­cord­ing to the top hon­cho of Go Negosyo, Boss Joey Con­cep­cion, the three essen­tials in en­ter­prise de­vel­op­ment are the 3Ms: Men­tor­ing, Money, and Mar­ket. With these, we can de­velop our new gen­er­a­tion of “Mang Sasakas.”

Here, I would like to par­tic­u­larly fo­cus on a ne­glected sec­tor of our hor­ti­cul­ture in­dus­try, or­na­men­tal plants and trees. As many of my friends in the Orchid So­ci­ety, Philip­pine Hor­ti­cul­ture So­ci­ety, Philip­pine Bon­sai So­ci­ety, and or­na­men­tal plants nurs­ery op­er­a­tors who are my Face­book friends of­ten­times bring up in con­ver­sa­tions, ini­tia­tives to de­velop the in­dus­try are usu­ally made by lead­ers and mem­bers of the in­dus­try. The gov­ern­ment only pro­vides pub­lished re­search pa­pers and oc­ca­sional measly fund­ing for shows and con­fer­ences. Most of the time, funds come from the pock­ets of plant lovers.

Hence, it is about time to do some­thing that ought to be done twenty to fifty years ago like what Tai­wan and Thai­land did. The de­vel­op­ment of the or­na­men­tal plants in­dus­try de­serves se­ri­ous at­ten­tion from gov­ern­ment plan­ners, and funds should be al­lo­cated to sup­port its ro­bust de­vel­op­ment through­out the 20 main is­lands of the Philip­pines. Agri­cul­ture-in­spired stu­dents in SUCs should be ex­posed to the nec­es­sary skills to be­come agri-en­trepreneurs dur­ing their four-year cour­ses, no longer just plant­ing in a few pots as part of their the­sis re­quire­ments but to op­er­ate school-based nurs­eries that can put money in their pock­ets. “Earn­ing while learn­ing” is the key to sus­tain their in­ter­est in se­ri­ously con­sid­er­ing a ca­reer in agribusi­ness.

Arse­nio ‘Toto’ Barcelona

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.