We are delighted to welcome Amy Melissa Chua as the new Country Director of the Philippines Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture (PPSA). In her role, Amy will manage the overall execution of the PPSA’s strategic vision - supporting the development of sustainable and inclusive agricultural development in the Philippines.
In this Q&A, Amy tells us more about her expertise, passions and vision for transforming the Philippine agriculture sector through multi-stakeholder collaboration.
Welcome to the Grow Asia network, Amy. Can you tell us about yourself and your experience?
I have been working for social development for over 13 years now. I started my career working with the University of the Philippines Los Baños to help share knowledge and best practices to farmers in Southern Tagalog. This was followed by my working years with the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), where much of my work was focused around advocacy communications, corporate citizenship, knowledge management, and enterprise development. This is also when we led the setup of PPSA, its Secretariat, the Core Committee and Commodity Working Groups - so this is not so much a “welcome” to the PPSA for me, but a “welcome back”!
Following my time at PBSP, I was privileged to work as the Communications and Engagement Manager of the Aboitiz Foundation. This greatly contributed in increasing my knowledge and understanding on resource mobilization and stakeholder engagement.
My experiences in both the nonprofit and corporate sectors are beneficial to the work of multi-stakeholder platforms such as PPSA. With the appreciation of their perspectives, I can help better relate with them and inspire them to work with us towards reaching our goals.
On a more personal note, I would like to believe that I am a passionate person with a high level of resilience and endurance. I have overcome the challenges in life by believing that all things work for good if there is trust, love for what we do, meaningful relations, kindness, and compassion.
What are your priorities for the first 100 days as the PPSA Country Director?
Beyond continuing the ongoing partnerships and projects of the PPSA, I am committed to focusing my first 100 days as the PPSA Country Director to develop innovative and proactive responses to the COVID-19 pandemic that support agricultural development and farmer productivity. We will continue exploring partnership opportunities that will help our farmers stay productive and our projects uninterrupted amidst the rapid changes in both value chain processes and consumer behavior.
Times are getting more challenging as we know. As such, we need to stay up-to-date - and in fact, ahead - of agricultural trends and practices; work even harder to allow the agriculture sector to contribute to the nation’s inclusive growth.
What changes would you like to see in PPSA’s agriculture sector in five years’ time?
In five years’ time, I envision the agriculture sector to be even more resilient, able to withstand changes and maintain dynamic partnerships. I would like to see the PPSA’s partnership projects and work streams leverage digital technologies that help farmers excel. I would like to see a rapid rise in farmer-led engagements as they become empowered, are made more self-reliant and resilient, and able to seek and respond to productivity and income opportunities for their respective farmer groups, communities, and families.
With more companies and organizations onboard, PPSA is able to promote more productive dialogues and build a stronger, more transparent community of sustainable agriculture advocates and practitioners.
What excites you most about joining the PPSA and the Grow Asia network?
The idea that I can contribute - through effective coordination, facilitation, and meaningful and transformational partnerships - to uplift the lives of Filipino farmers excites me the most. This is at the core of the PPSA’s purpose and Grow Asia’s vision, and are reasons enough to push and inspire me to do my best.
Also, being able to work with colleagues and partners who are committed, passionate, and believe in the power of partnerships and continuous learning motivates me. I am blessed to have this opportunity to collaborate with people from various parts of the world towards advancing agriculture and empowering farmers.