During the launch of the Agricultural Cooperative Development Agenda (ACDA), DTI reiterated their support for local cooperatives that help MSMEs and the agricultural sector hit hard by the pandemic.

DTI secretary Ramon Lopez talked about the importance of cooperatives in allowing for inclusive growth at the grassroots level and how their existence is integral to national economic recovery.

He said:

"Ang DTI po ay patuloy na hinihimok ang pag-unlad ng ating cooperatives habang itinataguyod nila ang inclusivity sa pagsisiguro na ang lahat ng kanilang miyembro ay makikinabang sa kanilang collective resources. Bukod pa rito, ang cooperatives ay nagpapatakbo sa grassroots level, kung saan mas malawak ang kanilang abot sa mga magsasaka at micro, small, and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs). Kung kaya’t ang agriculture cooperatives po ay mahalaga ang ginagampanan sa pagtulong sa mga kababayan nating nangangailangan at sa pagbibigay sa kanila ng mas maginhawang buhay.

On the other hand, the agriculture sector needs to be developed and modernized so that our people—especially in the countryside—can benefit from the administration’s efforts to create inclusive growth and shared prosperity as envisioned by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. To this end, the Philippine agriculture sector needs to aim for high productivity and competitiveness. DTI believes the sector can achieve this through the many opportunities that can be found in agriculture and agri-business.

DTI has been collaborating with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) in providing entrepreneurial and training opportunities to help cooperatives. Both agencies have also been working together to establish an enabling environment for cooperatives to participate in the domestic and global value chains. "

He mentioned some of the DTI's initiatives to help MSMEs and the agricultural sector, specifically:

  • COVID-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises or CARES program
  • Livelihood Seeding Program – Negosyo Serbisyo sa Barangay (LSP-NSB)
  • Shared Services Facilities (SSFs) program that provides MSMEs with machinery, equipment, tools, and systems, among others, under a shared system to improve their competitiveness.
  • Online National Food Fair at the Shopee online platform
  • the Go Lokal! retail concept store
  • the Diskwento Caravan and Rolling Stores
  • trade fairs like Sikat Pinoy, Manila FAME, and IFEX PH
  • the DELIVER-e Project, an integrated end-to-end e-commerce platform for agricultural and food products to increase income for farmers and at the same time

Lopez concluded with these words:

"Thus, even as we thank our cooperatives for being our strong partner in fostering inclusive growth, we call on them to maximize the available opportunities to further their development. We hope that you will continually work with us in the modernization of the agriculture sector, especially through agribusiness, so that all our countrymen can achieve a more comfortable and higher quality of life as promised by the President. "