The Philippine Association of Agriculturists (PAA) is working towards an annual regional convention beginning July next year, the first step towards expanding its reach amid the ASEAN economic integration.
It is scouting for an event management company to handle the initial convention, which will feature commercial and technology components, to be held in Manila for up to 5,000 delegates, PAA president Arthur R Baria said on the sidelines of the 6th Associations Summit of the Philippine Council for the Advancement of Association Executives (PCAAE) in Subic last week.
Reaching out to Asia holds more meaning even as the Philippines is drafting the qualifying framework to align the competence and skills of its agriculturists to those in South-east Asia, said Baria, who is also Nestle Philippinesâ€™ assistant vice president and head of agribusiness development department.
Except for PAA, there is no professional agriculturists association in Asia but Baria sees opportunities for developing the regional network, exchange of technology, and employment opportunities, among other things.
Baria told TTGmice that while agriculture has high contributions to the Philippine economy, the sector is being left behind hence PAAâ€™s goal to professionalise the industry, make agriculturists relevant on the frontline while promoting agriculture to students and the youth.
Set on its goal, within this year PAA has firmed up the accreditation of seven integrated organisations and 17 regional chapters all over the Philippines. Its sixth agriculturists convention held this year turned out to be the biggest, with 2,800 delegates.
The association has 4,000 members out of the 20,000 licensed agriculturists in the country and many more that are not licensed.
Being an agriculturist is an exportable skills, with demand from the US, Australia, dairy industry in New Zealand, Japan which has an ageing population, the Middle East, Africa and even for urban agriculture, said Baria.
He hopes that after the ASEAN convention, PAA can also tap the international community within three to four years through Filipino agriculturists scattered around the world.