February 7, 2023

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Consunji to get into farming

Isidro A. Consunji, chairman of engineering conglomerate DMCI Holdings Inc., said Monday he wants to farm agricultural land in southern part of Visayas and parts of Mindanao.

Consunji, 73, said his family is keen on palm oil or rubber cultivation and carbon credits.

“My story is far from finished. I think I have enough gas in the tank to start a second career. In a few years I might surprise you all. With more idle time, I hope to move into agriculture and create sustainable value in the countryside,” Consunji said in his speech during the Management Association of the Philippines event, where he was named Man of the Year.

“It probably doesn’t require a lot of money, but it probably requires a lot of effort and managerial skills and a different way of looking at things.”

The initiative, he said, will be a “game changer” in Philippine agriculture, and the Consunji family is committed to the effort. However, Consunji did not provide any further details as the plans are still in the early stages of development. In his acceptance speech, Consunji admitted that when he learned he was nominated for the MAP Management Man of the Year Award, he asked if he could be withdrawn from the exam.

“I didn’t think I did anything out of the ordinary to deserve the nomination. You see, Washington Sycip, Cesar Virata, Cesar Buenaventura and my dad David Consunji were my real heroes,” he said.

Sycip was first awarded the prize in 1967, Virata in 1981, Buenaventura in 1985 and David Consunji in 1996.

“Growing up, I witnessed their brilliance, passion and love for our country. I saw them shaping their professions, striving for progress and making life better for others. In my eyes, they were in a completely different league,” he said.

“If my father were here today, I’m sure he would laugh and say, ‘Pano nangyari yan, eh kamote ka?’. Dad, wherever you are, I hope this kamote made you and mom proud.”

Consunji, a firstborn son and second of eight children, is a civil engineer. He graduated from the University of the Philippines but managed to complete the five-year course in six years.

“I wasn’t interested in studying, so I stopped for two semesters. To make some money I worked in our fleet department and timber concession,” he said.

“The time on the pitch was enlightening and formative for me. At 18 I learned how to deal with difficult employees, angry suppliers and tough customers. Just as crucially, I have discovered the importance of productivity, efficiency and cash flow in running a business. In millennial parlance, I was hashtag coming of age.”

Credit: Nonie Reyes