There is money to be made from agriculture, overseas Filipinos were urged by senior Philippine government officials and agribusiness cooperatives who were here to encourage investments in their country’s previously ailing sector.
“This time, there’s really money in agriculture,” stressed Philippines Department of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.
Speaking during the international launch of the Worldwide Initiative for Investment Savings and Entrepreneurship movement for Overseas Filipinos, or Pinoy Wise, in Abu Dhabi, Alcala told his compatriots about the government’s programme, which will move the Philippines from a rice-importing country to a quality rice-exporting nation.
“In 2010, we used to be the number one importer of rice in the whole world. We imported 2.4 million metric tonnes of rice,” he said. But with the government’s action in adopting new farming technology and scheme, enhancing the irrigation system and using quality seeds, in 2011 the Philippines reduced their rice import to 860,000 metric tonnes. This year, we just imported 500,000 metric tonnes of rice. And I promise, by 2013 [there will be] no more importation of rice in the Philippines,” Alcala said.
This is the first time that overseas Filipino workers, or OFWs, are being tapped to invest in their country’s agriculture. Filipino remittances to the Philippines have contributed greatly to their country’s economic growth in the past years. “If we could get only 20 per cent of the total remittance of the Filipinos, we can reinvest this to [uplift] the backbone [agricultural] of our economy,” Alcala told Khaleej Times on the sidelines of the event.
“We have been to Hong Kong, Singapore and Cambodia to encourage OFWs. At the end of the day we will all have to go back to our home country, so I urge you to maximise your earnings here by using your remittance wisely,” he said.
Among the investment opportunities presented by the Department of Agriculture and select cooperatives include crops, livestock raising, egg layer farms, aquaculture or fisheries, ecotourism and franchising.
From : Khalij