NAGA CITY -- Some 200 farmers, members of cooperatives, micro and small business entrepreneurs as well as aspiring traders attended the launching of the “Kapatid Agri Mentor Me” activity program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department of Trade Industry (DTI) held recently, a DA top official said Friday.

The program aims to help the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the Bicol region.

DA-Bicol Regional Executive Director Dr. Elena B. de los Santos said in her message during the launch, she urged farmers not to be contented with their role as producers but to 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 through coaching and mentoring approach where big and successful enterprise and corporations teach the MSMEs on different aspects of business operations, delos Santos said.

Jose Alvaro Severino Nito and Victor Madlangbayan of Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship served as resource persons during the program.

Nito said that agriculture is a game changer and the Agri Mentor Me Program would equip agri-entrepreneurs with proper production techniques, practical knowledge and strategies to help them expand their business.

He added that the program will provide consultation services, develop agri-entrepreneurs as future mentors and ultimately nurture a community of dynamic, competitive and sustainable agri-entrepreneurs.

The program 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. (PNA)