MSMEs flock to provinces, ventures in agri-business

·2 min read

MORE micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) have shifted to agri-based businesses as global food markets focus on food security and sustainability during the pandemic.

Filipino Cebuano Business Club chairman Rey Calooy said they noted an exodus of owners of city-based MSMEs to their hometowns to start other businesses there.

“Some one-man team businesses left their stores and went home to the provinces like Bohol, Negros and Leyte. This is because they belong to industries that were badly hit by the pandemic like event planning and photography services,” he said.

Calooy said since Cebu became reliant on tourism, its economy got crippled due to travel restrictions.

“We gave emphasis on tourism rather than other investments like the manufacturing sector. If we balance it with manufacturing, the economy would still be in a better shape despite slight disruptions,” he said.

Calooy said there is another industry that could help the economy bounce back from the recession—agriculture.

“We should invest in agricultural technology. Only the agricultural sector went positive in all industries,” he said.

Calooy said no matter the condition of the economy is, people would always buy food.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar issued a memorandum on Jan. 4, 2021 to all Department of Agriculture executives, attached agencies and corporations, programs and regional offices to “pursue an inclusive approach on these key strategies to accelerate the transformation towards a modern and industrialized Philippine agriculture.”

“We will vigorously pursue an inclusive approach that will cut across the strategies and involves setting up safety net measures such as cash assistance, subsidized credit and crop insurance to directly benefit resource-poor farmers and fishers through our flagship ‘Plant, Plant, Plant’ program,” Dar said.

Partnerships with local government units will also be encouraged by implementing the province-led agriculture and fisheries extension system (Pafes).

The program—which involves providing support to develop one high-potential commodity for every province—is already being piloted in Ilocos Norte, and thereafter followed by one Pafes per region. (JOB)