Agriculture-based businesses in Cebu, Philippines topped other enterprises seen to have continuously led micro, small, and medium (SMEs) ventures toward success in the new normal, Cebu trade leaders said on Thursday, July 1.

In a virtual coffee table discussion hosted by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), local businessmen shared their opinions and insights on how entrepreneurs can cope with and navigate through the pandemic and current trends.

Rey Calooy, founder and general manager of RNC Marketing Philippines, cited the resilience of agriculture and the food sector, seeing the potential for a strong market value of all agriculture-based products and by-products.

“The most sustainable and resilient business is in agriculture. In many countries in the world, where agriculture is strong and developed, manufacturing industries, food and health products as well as cosmetics and many more are mostly agri-based,” he said.

Benny Que, president of Golden Prince and Suites, agreed with Calooy, citing his advocacy of providing funds to his employees who wished to go on backyard vegetable gardening or any agriculture undertaking. Calooy and Que agreed that Cebu, especially in areas where cacao, coffee and bamboo are in abundance, is good for agri-based industries in the new normal. The duo eyed commercial-level cacao farming and production, seeing increasing market demand.

“We want to position Carcar town as the cacao/chocolate capital of Cebu, empower the cacao farmers and improve on the ‘tableya’ [cacao] products. It is our dream,” Calooy said.