Want to start a farm? 3 tips from Kiko Pangilinan
BULACAN, Philippines – When it comes to boosting the country’s agriculture sector, Secretary Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan has always stressed the important role of the private sector – the ones with the "deepest pockets."
For the Presidential Assistant on Food Security and Agricultural Modernization, only a strong private-public partnership can sustain growth in the agricultural sector. (READ: 'Inclusive growth must start with agriculture')
"[Let us] inspire the private sector to let go of its money and invest for sustainable economic activity," Pangilinan said on the last day of Gawad Kalinga's 2nd Social Business Summit on Saturday, October 4, in Angat, Bulacan.
Speaking to mostly social entrepreneurs, he gave 3 tips for those who want to start a farm:
- Visit a farm.
- Read materials and case studies on farming.
- Immediately think of markets. A farm is supposed to be market-driven.
The former senator himself began farming in January 2012, so he brings two years of farming experience in his new role in government, which he assumed in May.
As Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization, he has oversight functions over 4 Department of Agriculture (DA) agencies:
- National Food Authority (NFA)
- National Irrigation Administration (NIA)
- Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA)
- Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA)
Pangilinan said with the vast resources of the country, what’s wrong in Philippine agriculture is the lack of respect for farmers. (READ: 'PH farmers endangered species')
"Lack of respect for our farmers is critical, it's precisely why they remain poor, abandoned," he added.
According to him, farmers, fisherfolk and people directly and indirectly employed by agriculture make up almost 60% of the country's labor force.
The average Filipino farmer is 57 years old with an educational attainment of grade 4. He makes roughly P23,000 a year and owns just 1.5 hectares of land.
Pangilinan said the interventions in the sector must be income-based and farmer-centered. (READ: Pangilinan: Want economic growth? Put farmers, fisherfolk first)
"Farmers are the most resilient, patient, sacrificing human beings in the planet....The farmer is exposed to challenges; without support he will never level up," he noted, adding that the country will never reach developed nation status without a "healthy respect" for farmers.
Both the government and private sector must then mobilize resources around farming enterprises. "We must mobilize resources to ensure we have strong intervention around farming communities," he added. – Rappler.com
See related stories from the 2014 Social Business Summit:
- Social entrepreneurship: Ending poverty from the bottom up
- ‘Walang iwanan’ economy: Bridging markets, communities
- How to #EndPoverty? Develop state universities
- In entrepreneurship, 'responsibility key to sustainability'
- The way to inclusive growth: ‘Create shared value’
- Nation building through tourism, design and new media