University of the Philippines Los Baños
Tuesday, 07 November 2017 09:24

UPLB’s 2nd GAME Conference seeks for inclusive agribusiness


To help strengthen the ‘triple helix’ of agribusiness, composed of government, academe, and industry sectors, the Department of Agribusiness Management and Entrepreneurship of the College of Economics and Management (DAME-CEM) held the 2nd Global Agribusiness Management and Entrepreneurship (GAME) 2017 Conference on Oct. 26-27 at the Acacia Hotel in Alabang, Muntinlupa City.

The event, with the theme, “Traversing the sectoral divide for inclusive agribusiness,” featured plenary presentations on inclusive agribusiness of four speakers, namely: Dr. Cielito Habito, Dr. William Dar, Dr. Richard Abendan, and Roberto Amores.

Dr. Habito, former NEDA director-general and currently a professor of economics at the Ateneo de Manila University, discussed inclusive growth and explained how agriculture could contribute to it, particularly through tapping the potentials of the medium, small, and micro enterprises (MSMEs). He noted the importance of further developing MSMEs in the country and cited the factors that need to be overcome to be at par with ASEAN countries. He also emphasized the important role that the youth and entrepreneurial education for all would play in empowering agricultural MSMEs.

Meanwhile, Amores drew a clear picture of the current state of the Philippine agricultural food sector and discussed the opportunities and challenges that it faces. He underscored the importance of infrastructure, and said that it would be the “game changer” and critical in order to realize the goal of inclusive and sustainable growth. Amores is the president of both the Philippine Food Processors and Exporters Organization Inc. and the HI-LAS Marketing Corporation.

Dr. Abendan, on the other hand, talked about building a culture of innovation. He noted that an enabling environment would be created by the convergence and collaboration between the public and private sectors. Dr. Abendan is the research and industry partnerships manager of the USAID-STRIDE Program, RTI International.

On the other hand, Dr. Dar, president of the InangLupa Movement Inc., illustrated an inclusive, market-oriented development (IMOD) framework for inclusive agribusiness. The framework has nine factors, namely: government policy, regulatory framework and infrastructure, funding and finance, culture, mentors-advisers support systems, universities, education training, human capital workforce, and local and global markets that all contribute to an entrepreneurial ecosystem in agriculture.

The conference’s keynote speaker was Roel Castro, president and chief executive officer of Palm Concepcion Power Corporation, A Brown Group of Companies, who talked about his company’s coal power plant project in Iloilo. He related the challenges of creating a “win-win-win” situation among agricultural, environmental, and power and energy concerns to make their project a clean coal power plant. He went on to discuss how, through collaboration, technology, and community building, they were able to develop a mini-ecosystem where industry development, environment, people, and community can co-exist.

During the conference, Castro’s A Brown Company also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with UPLB to signify the collaborative ties between the industry and the academe towards inclusive agribusiness. Castro and Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez signed the MOU on behalf of the two parties.

Among those who attended the GAME 2017 Conference were National Scientists Dolores Ramirez and Ricardo Lantican; former UP President Emil Q. Javier; and former UP alumni regent Nelia T. Gonzalez, who spearheaded the relaunching of her self-titled book during the event. Also present were Dr. Isabelita Pabuayon, dean of CEM, Asst. Prof.  Normito Zapata Jr., chair of DAME, and Asst. Prof. Nanette Aquino, chair of the Conference. (Albert Geoffred B. Peralta)