Brunei public sector to join Concepcion-led Philippines-ASEAN food security alliance

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Brunei private sector will formally join the ASEAN Food Security Alliance (AFSA) with the signing of an MOU between the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (BAC) Philippines and ASEAN BAC Brunei this May 29 in Jerudong, Brunei Darussalam. AFSA aims to strengthen the ASEAN region’s food security through strategic partnerships; technology and knowledge exchange of best practices and experiences and expand market access and diversify agricultural enterprises within the ASEAN. Leading the initiative is ASEAN Business Advisory BAC Philippines chair and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion.

This MOU is the result of the initial MOU agreement signed by ASEAN BAC Brunei and ASEAN BAC Philippines last year during the ASEAN Summit in Jakarta which aims to jointly conduct studies and mentorship channels for potential agriculture, agriculture technology, food security and agri-preneurship business models. The new MOU now features a direct partnership between an agricultural company in the Philippines and Brunei. The private sectors of Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Thailand have also formally participated in this regional agriculture cooperation.

Brunei’s MOU will be signed in time for President Marcos’ state visit to the sultanate. Signing for the Philippines is Concepcion and for Brunei is ASEAN BAC Brunei chair Haslina Taib who will be represented by ASEAN BAC Brunei Council member Musa Adnin.

“These initiatives harness the strengths of the ASEAN private sector to strengthen food security in the region,” said Concepcion.

The MOU with Brunei will also be signed by former Philippine Agriculture Sec. and now Go Negosyo senior adviser William Dar, ASEAN BAC executive director Gil Gonzales, Yovel East president James Amparo, Bounty Fresh president Tennyson Chen, Brunei Association of Agricultural Farmers president YB Pengiran Haji Isa Bin Pengiran Haji Aliuddin and Hua Ho Agricultural Farm Rep. Haji Abdul Halim Bin Haji Saim.

As part of the AFSA initiative, Concepcion led Philippine agriculture companies on a visit to Malaysia last April to explore potential partnerships in oil palm, rubber, rice, dairy, poultry, pineapple, durian, banana, coconut and corn.

During the Malaysia visit, the Philippine group was briefed on innovations and best practices of Malaysian agriculture companies in key commodities, including the application of genomics and big data in agriculture. Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Ma. Angela Ponce pledged her support as the Philippine mission follows through with the initial connections made with the Malaysian private sector.

Concepcion explained that AFSA will create engagements directly between the private sectors of the participating countries.

“Creating this level of private sector partnerships in agriculture has not been done before,” he said.

“This is only the beginning. In the next two years, we will build a roadmap leading to the Philippines chairmanship in 2026,” he added.

Agriculture is poised to be the legacy project of ASEAN BAC Philippines when it assumes the chairmanship in 2026. Its legacy project from its chairmanship in 2017, the ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network (AMEN), has already produced nearly 200 graduates of the MSME mentoring program and established a region-wide network of entrepreneurship mentors.

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