Turning farmers into entrepeneurs

  • 30 September 2018

Source: The Philippine Star
30 Sep 2018

MANILA, Philippines — Government research partner Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) has established capability-building courses for trainers and agricultural entrepreneurs to help boost productivity of mango, abaca, cacao and herbal-medicinal products.

The training will beef up skills of Filipino farmers-businessmen in ensuring their farms thrive as profit-making businesses, rather than as mere source of sustenance.

SEARCA also supported the publication of an investment guide of the Bureau of Agricultural Research-Department of Agriculture (BAR-DA) with the same title. BAR launched the investment guide during its Agriculture and Fisheries Technology Forum last Aug. 30.

"We believe that given the right opportunities, training, and innovation, farmers and fishers can be "agripreneurs'," said Nicomedes Eleazar, executive director at DA-BAR.

Participants in these courses will also be trainors of agricultural entrepreneurs.

SEARCA's major thrust is to support the training of farm technologists and entrepreneurs in a bid to further develop the country's agricultural sector.

It is also pushing for harmonization of skills standards of farm technicians in ASEAN through a competency certification in partnership with institutions such as TESDA (Technical Education & Skills Development Authority).

Through these programs, SEARCA expects to boost farm productivity and Philippine exports while ensuring the future generation is lured into becoming farmers and agri-businessmen.

Those that already completed the program include agriculture technocrats of the DA, its attached agencies, state universities and colleges in 16 selected projects funded by DA-BAR and farm managers.

The topics include cost and return analysis, partial budget analysis, break-even analysis, and financial cash flow analysis.

SEARCA has supported personnel training for 16 DA-BAR projects involving mango conservation in Masbate and Sorsogon, lotus production for food and medicinal purposes in Region 3, village-level processing and commercialization of abaca yarn in Region 8, development of postharvest equipment for carrot processing and marketing of sweet potato, adlay and soybean in Region 10, development and commercialization of potato products and commercialization of organically-grown cucumber and carrots in Bukidnon.

Other projects include organic production technologies for rice and muscovado sugar for smallholder farmers and agrarian reform beneficiaries, piloting Arabica coffee rooted cuttings as plant materials in the Highlands Macadamia Conservation in Luzon, development of cacao technologies, commercialization of soya nuggets/chunks and Rimas ice cream, and product improvement and marketing plan for dalanghita nectar.

SEARCA is a regional treaty organization that promotes inclusive and sustainable agricultural and rural development through graduate education and institutional development, R&D, and knowledge management. It has been a long-time partner of DA-BAR in research, capacity building, and knowledge management projects.