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Forum on Strengthening Partnership Among Agribusiness, Academe and the Science Community
Written by Laureano B. Lanosia and Marilyn M. Beltran
The Secretary of Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Hon. Gregory L. Domingo was the keynote speaker during the forum which tackled on the strengthening of partnership among agribusiness, academe and science community. He started his talk by saying, “Based on the introductions of people earlier, a lot of doctors, deans, national scientists and academicians are here, so I guess there are many geniuses in this room”, to the laughter of the participants. He stressed that agriculture and agribusiness are very important components of this administration’s objective of inclusive growth. “I am a big supporter of R&D and always take the opportunity to show my support through my attendance in significant events like this. DTI would like to help you in any way we can to develop agriculture and agribusiness sectors”, he added. He also talked about the importance of intellectual property ownership, opportunities of agriculture in Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and other trade agreements, and service facilities in mobilizing community-based entrepreneurship.
A discussion followed, with panelists composed of Luis F. Alejandro, General Manager and Chief Operating Officer of Del Monte Pacific Group; Glenn Baticados, Assistant Professor of Department of Agribusiness Management Entrepreneurship (DAME), UPLB College of Economics and Management (CEM); and Ramon Lopez, Executive Director of Go Negosyo and Head of Corporate Planning, RFM Foods Corporation; while Dr. Dinah Pura Depositario, Chair of DAME, UPLB-CEM, acted as moderator. Among other things, they discussed how the university and the country can strengthen agribusiness. The following alternatives were ferret out:
Value chain and value adding. Create a country of enterprising Filipinos where everyone has a role in creating a business enterprise that is solid in character; for government to develop programs that create business that is wide-range where everyone is part of the value chain with a value adding to existing simple products; enterprising for both farmer and researcher; how to increase productivity and yield but decrease wastage where income and profitability are important; how to produce the product with the right price; why not mechanize?
Innovative research and development. Focus more on R&D that would address not only on the production but also on other areas of the value chain; for scientists to tie up with entrepreneurs/industry to develop products that are market-oriented; models such as contract farming, development culture, ready market and continuing development would be considered; research should be market-driven right from the start and should be integrated in the research design from concept to market.
Paradigm shift. Changing the mindset of farmers who are good in production but not all of them are entrepreneurs; challenge for the university to transform farmers into agri-preneurs and devise curriculum to address such; for the government to develop policies and interventions focusing on marketing and retailing; paradigm shift from rural development to a more progressive one.
Technology commercialization. Use of methodologies (e.g. molecular biology) to come up with products with high market potential; convert the discovery into a product that is still owned by the university; connect with investors and banks on awareness building with multinational agencies and academe forum that are of help. (Photo courtesy of LB Lanosia)