HOTEL JEN, Pasay City (DWDD) – Agrarian Reform Secretary Rosalina Bistoyong cited the Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (CIRDAP) for playing a vital role in spurring rural development.
In her speech during the inaugural ceremony of the “Agribusiness Forum” at the Hotel Jen in Pasay City, Bistoyong said the regional organization has become a platform for sharing knowledge, diverse experiences and innovative practices that each of the 15 member-countries could adopt to enhance their agriculture-based business enterprises.
The DAR Secretary said: “As entrepreneurs, small farmers and fisherfolk can create greater economic activities, which reinforce our belief that agribusiness indeed plays an integral role in pursuit for sustainable rural development.”
“A more concerted and mutual collaboration and cooperation between and among CIRDAP member-countries is needed to make it happen,” Bistoyong said.
Delegates from the 15 member-countries attended the forum and were impressed with locally-processed products of farmers’ cooperatives that were on display for everyone wanting to place an order or two.
But what mesmerized them the most were the success stories, the so-called “rags-to-riches tales,” that invited non-government organizations and farmers’ cooperatives shared during the two-day forum, which runs up to tomorrow.
Their inspiring stories caught the imagination of the audience, that there is hope if everyone would only bear in mind the important value of working together and learning the rope about value chain, from the production stage up to the marketing of farm produce.
The forum will be followed with the CIRDAP 21st Governing Council meeting on Friday also at Hotel Jen.
The CIRDAP is a regional cooperation, whose objectives are:
(a) To act as a servicing institution for its member states;
(b) To encourage joint collective activities to benefit the member countries both individually and collectively; and,
(c) To poverty alleviation through people’s participation in the development process.
For her part, Sen. Cynthia A. Villar, through her Chief of Staff, Atty. Reggie Tamana, offered a two-fold strategy to enhance the agricultural sector’s global competitiveness in line with the economic reintegration under the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nation) Economic Community or AEC.
Sen. Villar begged off at the last minute to attend to more pressing matters, more particularly the Senate budget hearing.
“First, we need to ensure long-term food security, and, second, improve the livelihood of small farmers and fisherfolk in Asia and the Pacific through agribusiness enterprises,” according to an excerpt of Sen. Villar’s speech that Atty. Tamana read for her.
Villar stressed that food security is the priority agenda if we are to meet the challenges of the growing global population.
“Food security is a multi-dimensional concept, which encompasses agricultural production, trade, income, food quality, clean water, sanitation, governance and political stability,” Villar said.
Bistoyong echoed Sen. Villar’s views. She said the Philippines has come up with a blue print to attain food security, leading up to driving the country towards industrial development. She called it “the Comprehensive National Industrial strategy (CNIS).”
Under the CNIS, “the Philippines is embarking on an ambitious plan of becoming a regional manufacturing, service and agribusiness hub starting 2022,” the DAR Secretary said.
Bistoyong said the CIRDAP plays a vital role for the attainment of this ambitious undertaking because it contributes to understanding one’s strengths and weaknesses through sharing of knowledge and diverse experiences and practices. DAR/MCAG