January 28, 2019
AGC staff attends international forum, workshop in Bangkok, Thailand
In two separate occasions, the ASKI Group of Companies, Inc. (AGC) was represented in the recently concluded international forum and workshop held in Bangkok, Thailand last January 22-23 and 24-25, respectively.

The six AGC staff were among the 594 attendees of the Asia Financial Institutions Forum 2019 (AFI Forum) in Amari Watergate Hotel, Bangkok. The attendees were composed of investors, investees and well-known speakers across the region.

The AFI Forum "brings together the entire value-chain of Asia's finance community in one roof." The participants learned from different topics such as gender lens financing, sustainable banking and money markets through the expertise of different leaders of the industry. It also became a venue for different organization to explore partnerships and investment opportunities.

Among the investors met by the AGC representatives include Bank Im Bistum (BIB) and Frankfurt School Financial Services in Germany, Alterfin and Belgian Investment Opportunity (BIO) based in Belgium, KIVA based in San Francisco and TSW Capital Services in India.

The attendees from AGC were Ms. Ma. Luisa Gutierrez, accounting department manager, Ms. Raquel Sarilla, finance department manager, Mr. Erwin Embuscado, resource mobilization and corporate communications department manager, Mr. Mark Lyndon Antaran, communications officer, Mr. Horton Caguingin, resource mobilization officer and Mr. Kim Karlo Gotangco, program officer.

Meanwhile, after the AFI Forum, Mr. Embuscado and Mr. Antaran joined the Global Dissemination Workshop of IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development) Regional Grant 'RuFBeP Project' on January 24-25 at The Sukosol, Bangkok, Thailand organized by Asia-Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (APRACA) in collaboration with IFAD, Asia-Pacific Division.

The workshop was attended by distinguish experts and practitioners in agricultural finance industry and also members of APRACA in the region. APRACA said that the activity is "intended to disseminate the findings of the pilot testing of the identified rural finance best practices and to receive the inputs from the experts and the practitioners to finalize the dissemination strategies for the wider audiences and the APRACA member institutions" during cross learning exercises in the two-day sessions.

APRACA is the lead implementing agency for the IFAD project on "Documenting Global Best Practices on Sustainable Models of Pro-Poor Rural Financial Services in Developing Countries (RuFBeP Project)". The project "assisted rural finance providers and governments in extending financial services on a sustainable basis, through the application of best practices suitable to their unique operating environments in China, Indonesia and Philippines. It aimed to identify, critically review and selectively pilot various best practices that can be replicated and successfully scaled up in other countries.

In the Philippines, the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) presented the value-chain program that also highlighted the KALASAG (a group of onion farmer cooperative) model to scale up and implement the same approach to other farmer groups from Benguet and Bukidnon.

The KALASAG Onion Farmers Cooperative was assisted by ASKI Microfinance during its early years through the Catholic Relief Services, the then National Livelihood Development Corporation (NLDC) and the Local Government Unit of San Jose City in Nueva Ecija. Since 2010, the KALASAG Coop is supplying their produce to Jollibee Food Corporation (JFC).

AFI Forum: From left to right: Mark Lyndon Antaran, communications officer, Erwin S. Embuscado, manager, resource mobilization and corporate communications department, Racquel Sarilla, finance manager, Ma. Luisa V. Gutierrez, manager, accounting department, Kim Karlo Gotangco, program officer and Horton Caguingin, resource mobilization officer.

Some of the participants together with APRACA Secretary General Dr. Prasun Kumar Das (3rd from right) and the Philippine delegation.
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