The Philippines Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture (PPSA) is pleased to announce its new Private Sector Co-Chair, East-West Seed as represented by its Public Affairs Lead, Dr. Mary Ann P. Sayoc.
Dr. Sayoc, along with her public sector counterpart, Secretary William Dar of the Department of Agriculture, is expected to lead PPSA in maximizing the national and international networks towards achieving sustainable agriculture. Together with the PPSA Secretariat, the Co-Chairs will help strengthen the collaborations through organizing various initiatives within the Working Groups and providing clearer strategic directions that will guide PPSA’s sectoral engagements and secretariat-level partnerships.
East-West Seed has been leading the Vegetable Working Group, which has initiated plant-trials that actively involved various input companies, financial institutions, and farmer groups.
Dr. Sayoc replaces Mr. Benjie Yap of Unilever Philippines who was instrumental in establishing PPSA in 2017 with other stakeholders, setting up the Working Groups, and expanding the network.
Get to know Dr. Sayoc in this brief interview with her.
1. What are you most excited about in being the private sector Co-Chair of PPSA?
I am most excited about bringing together business, civil society, farmer groups, and the Department of Agriculture in mounting scalable solutions to increase the productivity and income of smallholder farmers through efficient and sustainable value chains.
2. As someone who has a wide range of experience both in the public and private sectors, what do you plan to bring to PPSA's multi-stakeholder platform?
I plan to bring to PPSA's multi-stakeholder platform the knowledge network I have built from the time I worked with DA up to the time that I moved to the private sector. I would like to share East West Seed's long experience in engaging with various partners and stakeholders in improving the capacity of smallholder farmers through its Knowledge Transfer program.
3. What do you think are the three (3) most pressing issues of the agriculture or fisheries sector? Why?
Access to technology and innovation. The only way to modernize Philippine agriculture is to professionalize farming by adopting technological innovations.
Access to finance. Technology and innovation require capital investments which farmers cannot afford. There is a need to provide infrastructure support and low-interest credit facilities for farmers and other value chain actors to invest in modern machinery and equipment.
Enabling policy environment. There is a pressing need to review and amend existing laws, policies, and regulations that are outdated and may no longer be relevant. These are hurdles to the effective implementation of strategic interventions in agriculture.
4. How can a unique multi-stakeholder partnership platform such as PPSA help address these issues?
PPSA can help address these issues by providing a platform for various stakeholders to engage, discuss, collaborate, and bring to life initiatives and best practices of individual companies into a collective action aimed at improving the lives of smallholder farmers and promoting inclusive growth.
5. Where do you see PPSA in the next five years or so?
I see PPSA five years and beyond as a strong organization with active and engaged working groups and committees working closely together in a spirit of mutual trust and consensus-building. I hope to see PPSA as the partnership platform of choice of government, business, civil society, academe, and farmer groups in addressing the challenges of the agriculture sector.