The Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (DA-AMAD) of Region 8 will be promoting local coconut agribusinesses under its investment, promotion, and market development programs at the coming Agrilink, Foodlink and Aqualink 2019, slated from October 3 to 5 at the World Trade Center, Pasay City.

On its 26th year, Agrilink’s theme, “Climate Change-Resilient Agriculture: A Must for Eastern Visayas,” will highlight agricultural inputs, technologies, and practices that will help mitigate the adverse effects of climate change in order to improve the livelihood of farmers and fisherfolk. Agrilink 2019 will also highlight coconut, considered as Eastern Visayas’ main crop, and will also cover Biliran, Eastern and Northern Samar, Leyte, Southern Leyte, and Samar.

“Our core programs are aligned with the DA’s advocacy towards sustainable agricultural growth by providing our farmers and fisherfolk easier access to market linkages and capital that they can use to strengthen their resilience to climate and disaster risks,” said Evelyn Mionda, chief of DA-AMAD Region 8. In the coconut sector in Eastern Visayas, the Division is implementing its marketing programs through collaboration with the regional office of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA). DA-AMAD and PCA see diversification as a sustainable way to add more value to the coconut farmers’ products and lessen their dependence on selling their crops as copra, whose prices in the market are volatile.

In Bagong Bayan, Bato, Leyte, DA-AMAD and PCA have been working closely with Renilda Kuizon, proprietor of Lolo Bobby’s Handicrafts, in promoting its artisanal handicrafts, mostly made from coconut shells, to the U.S. and other countries in Europe.

Mionda added that value-adding and diversification instills an entrepreneurial spirit to the farmers, enabling them to establish their own agribusinesses. DA-AMAS also partnered with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) in organizing the Agribusiness Support for Promotion and Investment in Regional Expositions (ASPIRE) to promote local agricultural products. The ASPIRE project aims to build the capacity of local farmers and fisherfolk, as well as micro, small, and medium enterprises to tap market opportunities, as well as encourage more investments in agribusiness.

Last March, DA-AMAS set up an area in the DA’s central office to help farmers sell their
coconut produce, particularly water and meat. Apart from promoting agricultural products in local events, DA-AMAS helps agribusinesses tap export markets by participating in international trade exhibitions.

During the Agrilink 2019, DA-AMAS will also conduct a series of free seminars and workshops to enhance the entrepreneurial capabilities of farmers and fisherfolk, and drive more agribusiness investments, particularly in coconut. They will also serve as advocacy platforms to promote the DA’s support services and create investment opportunities to OFWs, retirees, farmers, traders, exporters, suppliers, and those who want to venture into agribusiness.

Supported by the DA and its regional and allied agencies, Agrilink 2019 is co-organized by over 30 agribusinesses, and food and trade organizations. For free seminar participation, contact FRLD at (0917) 588-8799, or through email: frld.agrilink@gmail.com . You may also visit their website at www.agrilink.org, or facebook.com/agrilinkPH.