THE WAY FORWARD │ Level Up Philippine Agriculture!

Five gov’t agencies launch “Agri-negosyo para sa OFWs”

Author: DA Communications Group | 27 November 2020

Repatriated Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) will have new livelihood opportunities after five national government agencies united on November 27, 2020 for the virtual signing of the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) to implement integrated programs and services in agribusiness.

The JMC covers the programs, projects, services, and initiatives of the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Science and Technology, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda), and National Economic Development Authority (NEDA).

“It is such a testament to the strong resolve of the Duterte administration to helping our repatriated OFWs and their families begin to make a brand new start by putting together responsive and sustainable social protection packages for them,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said highlighting that food and agribusiness has always been a good investment.

Through the JMC, the Agri-Negosyo (ANYO) Para sa OFWs Program will offer strengthened and more efficient delivery of agribusiness-related programs and services from the concerned agencies to address the urgent need to provide livelihood for repatriated OFWs.

“This whole of government approach will be key to helping them succeed at the end of the day and there is much opportunity for us to challenge ourselves and encourage the OFWs to get engaged in micro, small, and medium enterprises with our nurturing and support,” Secretary Dar said.

Dar heads the IATF Task Group on Food Security, which was created as part of the whole of the government strategy to ensure food sufficiency despite the challenges of the pandemic. The Task Group is composed of 20 government agencies collaborating together to make action plans focused on food resiliency, energy, food value chain and logistics, water, food procurement and distribution, and agribusiness.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, who chairs the IATF Food Security Sub-Task Group on Agribusiness, stressed the importance of the government’s complementation strategy to address the needs and offer more opportunities for the returning OFWs recognized as the country’s heroes.

During the event, NEDA Undersecretary Mercedita Sombilla representing Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua, DOST Assistant Secretary Teodoro Gatchalian representing Secretary Fortunato de la Peña, and Tesda Director General Isidro Lapeña also expressed their support to the joint initiative for OFWs.

The Sub-Task Group on Agribusiness will coordinate with other concerned agencies such as the Department of Labor and Employment and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration for the identification of OFWs, monitoring, and implementation of interventions under the JMC.

Secretary Dar shared his hope that the OFWs will give Philippine agriculture a second look and consider starting their journey of not only becoming agripreneurs, but also partners in national development.

He added that one of the major strategies of DA to elevate the income opportunities of its stakeholders is to go beyond production and productivity by introducing agribusiness as the way forward. ### (Gumamela Bejarin, DA-AFID)

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