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 Agriculture advocate Jiggy Manicad poses with avocado and rambutan seedlings he produced after the last season. As the host of %u2018Agripreneur%u2019, a GMA7 TV show celebrating its 7th anniversary, Manicad is calling on Filipino farmers and citizens to work together to strengthen the agri industry as it recovers and grows after the pandemic.

‘Agripreneur’ celebrates 7 years on air

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As Filipino farmers and agribusiness stakeholders face numerous challenges such as the pandemic, inflation, and natural disasters, TV show Agripreneur and its host Jiggy Manicad mark the series’ 7th anniversary with a renewed commitment to serve the industry by building awareness and providing support to “agripreneurs” across the Philippines.

“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,” Manicad shared.

Launched in 2015, Agripreneur is broadcasted every Saturday on GMA7 with the aim of providing content that is accessible and engaging for Filipino farmers and a 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 both established and fledgling farm, food, and beverage entrepreneurs to showcase their products and services.

As the show reaches its 7-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.

“I started the show 7 years ago after seeing firsthand the impact of Typhoon Yolanda as a broadcast journalist. One thing was clear to me in the aftermath and as the damage to agriculture became more tangible in the area: there is no life without food, and there is no food without farming,” Manicad laments, adding:

“Sadly, this is still the case today as recent typhoons and storms such as Paeng and Karding have shown. According to estimates, we lose P23 to P25 billion annually because of damage to agriculture brought by 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 its messaging.

“Even though we’re celebrating our 7th 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) in the sector, saying:

“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 sector.

“In the past 7 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,” the show’s host shared.

“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.

A new episode of Agripreneur premiers every Saturday, 5:30 AM on GMA7. 

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