NAGA CITY - Some 200 farmers, members of cooperatives, micro and small business entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs trooped to the Launching of the “Kapatid Agri Mentor Me” Program ´held in one of the hotels here over the week. This program is a collaborative undertaking of the Department of Agriculture, the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) and the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship (PCE) - Go Negosyo. This was patterned from the KAPATID Project of the Department of Trade Industry and the PCE which aims to help the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) through a coaching and mentoring approach where big and successful enterprise and corporations teach the MSMEs on different aspects of business operations.

DA Bicol regional executive director, Dr. Elena B. de los Santos urged farmers to change their mind set of just being content with their role as producers but should aspire to be entrepreneurs. With their diligence, creativity, and innovativeness plus the help of their “big brothers” small farmers can manage and make the most of their resources and abilities and transform them into viable enterprises.

 

Vivien Carable, OIC , center Director of ATI said that their institute is ready to train farmers to make them smart and innovative entrepreneurs.

Experts from the PCE, Jose Alvaro Severino Nito and Victor Madlangbayan served as the resource persons. Nito said that agriculture is the game changer and this Agri Mentor Me Program will equip agri -entrepreneurs with proper production techniques , practical knowledge and strategies to help them expand their business. He added that the program will also provide consultation services, develop agri-entrepreneurs as future mentors and ultimately nurture a community of dynamic, competitive and sustainable agri-entrepreneurs.

The progam adopts the “kapatid” or “big brother helping small brother “ approach where a practitioner mentor with extensive knowledge of the agribusiness industry through coaching and mentoring provides customized, non-generic and practical recommendations to new or aspiring SMEs .

Madlangbayan on the other hand talked about Entrepreneurial Mind-setting, Values Formation and Value Chain Analysis and Marketing.

Fe Caranza a person with disability but now a successful and multi-awarded entrepreneur engaged in in soya product processing in Naga City.

Bernadette San Juan , project director of Special Areas for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program of the DA came all the way from Manila to grace the launching. She announced that the actual mentoring and coaching using the modules designed for the purpose for interested agri-entrepreneurs will start next year. According to her there will be 3 batches with 30 individuals per batch. She explained that unlike the DTI and other agencies, the DA provides assistance to groups not to individuals as DA believes in shared responsibility and community approach. (Emily B. Bordado- DA V-RAFIS )