“Coopetition”, not competition, will keep entrepreneurs afloat in the imminent ASEAN economic integration. Such is the advice of Science Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña to the country’s local micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to stay relevant in the industry.

“Coopetition”, or the concept of cooperation between competing businesses, is a strategy of competing companies in creating new value-adding products and services at the fastest and economical way possible.

According to de la Peña, the ASEAN integration will definitely affect local enterprises as products and services become liberally available across all ASEAN markets, thus causing stronger competition.

Speaking at the recently held “Regional Workshop on Enhancing Innovation and Competitiveness of MSMEs” at the Diamond Hotel in Manila, the science chief observed that most local MSMEs do not have the capability to conduct research and development (R&D) activities to introduce more innovations.

The workshop, organized by DOST’s Technology Application and Promotion Institute (TAPI) in cooperation with the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific-Asia and Pacific Centre for Technology Transfer (APCTT), aims to foster cooperation among technology experts in the Asia-Pacific region in diffusing relevant knowledge and capabilities through technology transfer activities to spur further development. This year, the regional workshop focused on innovation and competitiveness in the agro-enterprise sector.

De la Peña encouraged the government to form farmers’ organizations to enable the sharing of knowledge and expertise to help develop other small-scale farmers at the shortest time possible.

Reports say that in 2011, the Philippines had more than 11 million small farmers capable of producing small-scale production on a small piece of farmland.

“You see, as time passes by without us being productive, the country gets left behind,” said de la Peña.

De la Peña also shared the need for local farmers to gain other relevant skillsets to move their agricultural productions up to higher-value yields. In particular, he said they need to have entrepreneurial skills to complement their knowledge on farming.

“Our farmers are doing a very good job in the farm,” he said, “but we also need to capacitate them in doing the business aspect of farming.”

According to TAPI Director Edgar I. Garcia, the country’s service industry has moved up by 8.4 percent while local manufacturing gained 6.9 percent in the past few years. However, the agricultural sector is on a decline of 2.9 percent which is attributed to the adverse effects of climate change in the Philippines.

In 2016, the Department of Agriculture estimates P7.013 billion worth of damage in the agricultural sector for the months of January to May. Most of the commodities affected were rice, corn, coffee, cacao, rubber, banana, and onion. #coopetition #dostPH #doststii #scienceph #sftp #msmes #entrepreneurship #apctt

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