25 September 2018 – The Makati Business Club, in partnership with the Australian Embassy and the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade), organized a roundtable discussion around the theme “Driving Productivity and Enhancing Innovation: Growth and Collaborative Opportunities in Australian Agriculture,” which perfectly encapsulates the upside potential of collaboration between the Philippine and Australian agribusiness sectors.
In his welcome remarks during the gathering at the New World Hotel in Makati, MBC executive director Coco Alcuaz laid the context for the discussion. “On the Philippine side, there is a growing population that has more and more money to spend on food, and not just basic food but the kind of food and products that come from Australia. Amidst that background, agribusinesses represented here are getting more dynamic and forming partnerships with companies abroad, including in Australia.”
“Whether it is Australian products for Filipino stomachs or Australian technology for Philippine agribusiness companies, the Philippines is ripe for Australian trade and investment in the agribusiness sector,” Alcuaz pointed out. “In a country where agriculture is the poorest and slowest growing sector, we know that Australia is a world leader in using technology and innovation to supply food in a sustainable way.”
The primary resource speaker for the RTD was Karen Caston, the Australian government’s senior industry specialist for agribusiness and food. Caston presented case studies of Australian companies that have successfully developed their businesses through advanced technology adoption and agricultural innovation. She also discussed Australia’s Agriculture 4.0 or their agricultural technology digitization program and what Austrade is doing for it.
After the main presentation, there was an informative exchange of views and insights about joint undertakings between the Philippines and Australia in the agricultural business sector, other agribusiness opportunities the two countries can explore, and how business owners may benefit from these possibilities.
Also present at the RTD were Australian minister counsellor for agriculture for South East Asia Ilona Stobutzki, Austrade senior trade and investment commissioner Elodie Journet, DFAT Manila first economic secretary Jenni Mcewin, Ramcar general manager Rolland Buchanan, BNC Ingredients president Benito Chua Co Kiong, Hijo Resources Corporation president and CEO Rosanna Fores, French Baker founder and CEO Johnlu Koa, Ramcar logistics head Eric Labay, Hijo Logistics Solutions president Bito Mantecon, Unilab-Animal Care marketing AVP Edwin Mapanao, Ramcar president Jesus Montemayor, Hijo Group of Companies president and COO Ramon Segismundo, Cargill country representative Philip Soliven, Atlas Fertilizer Corporation president and CEO Sumi Takashi.