Award-winning broadcast journalist Jiggy Manicad started his Kapuso educational show “Agripreneur” seven years ago after seeing firsthand the impact and devastation brought by Typhoon Yolanda .
“One thing was clear to me as the damage to agriculture became more tangible in the wake of the supertyphoon: there is no life without food, and there is no food without farming,” Jiggy noted.
He added, with a hint of sadness, that the pandemic has driven countless Filipino families to hunger. This is not to mention the recent occurrence of intense tropical cyclones like Paeng and Karding.
“According to estimates, we lose P23 to P25 billion annually because of damage to agriculture brought about by climate change.” Jiggy pointed out.
“The agricultural industry in the Philippines is at a critical juncture because we’re seeing the country recover from the pandemic, but we’re also still seeing its effects. Now, farmers are also challenged by inflation, high prices of inputs, and storms such as Typhoon Paeng, so more needs to be done to push growth in this sector post-pandemic. This is where Agripreneur comes in,” he stressed.
Launched in 2015, Agripreneur is broadcast every Saturday on GMA7 with the aim of providing content that is accessible and engaging for Filipino farmers and the general audience.
It features segments on farm production and best practices, the latest research and technology from government agencies and private enterprises, inspiring stories of success from farmers and agripreneurs, growing sectors such as agri-tourism, and more.
In 2019, the show intensified its presence on social media and now boasts nearly half a million followers on Facebook and YouTube and millions reached monthly. In 2020, Manicad also started a Facebook livestream to engage viewers in conversations online and provide a platform for farm, food, and beverage entrepreneurs to showcase their products and services.
As the show reaches its seven-year mark, Manicad sees the need for Agripreneur to reach a larger audience and invest in more capacity-building platforms to help address the urgent needs of the agri sector, such as adapting to climate change.
With more Filipinos becoming active on Tiktok and other nascent platforms, Manicad sees this as an opportunity to reach a younger audience and to diversify their messaging.
“Even though we’re celebrating our seventh year, we feel that we are starting once more in an exciting new chapter. We want to make our stories more interesting. We want to try more creative formats. We want to make our messages appeal more to younger Filipinos who can shape the future of agri development in the country,” Manicad said.
The broadcast journalist also highlighted the show’s continued priority of supporting micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) .
“MSMEs are a great contributor to our economy. If you have a small enterprise such as, say, making bagoong or peanut butter, you are employing five heads of families. Because of your venture, five families can be fed. So imagine if we focus on the thousands of MSMEs we have in our country, and imagine if we help them improve their business by educating them on best practices, showing them the most recent innovations, and bridging them to the government for assistance.”
Asked about his vision for agripreneurs in the Philippines, Manicad shared that the show intends to empower not only farmers and existing agripreneurs but also ordinary Filipinos in contributing to the development of the country’s agriculture.
“In the past seven years, what we’ve actually been able to build is a large and growing community of Filipinos representing farms, cooperatives, businesses, government agencies, and think tanks all teaching each other, helping one another. But now we also want Agripreneur to speak to every Juan and Juana Dela Cruz to tell them how critical their role is in the sector,” he pointed out.
“If we could get them to start their own backyard farm, launch a small enterprise making use of local crops, experiment on new food ideas, or support the local farming industry, then we are already helping them make steps towards shaping our country for the better,” Manicad said.