THE WAY FORWARD │ Level Up Philippine Agriculture!

DA holds first-ever youth agri summit for future Filipino leaders in agri-fishery

Author: DA Communications Group | 7 May 2021

Recognizing the power of the youth as prime movers in transforming the Philippine agriculture and fishery sector towards modernization and industrialization, the Department of Agriculture (DA) conducts the first-ever “Youth in Agriculture Summit” on May 11-12, 2021.

“The Filipino youth is a key driver to ensure the attainment of a food-secure and resilient Philippine agriculture, leading to a better performing economy, today and in succeeding years. And given the country’s aging farming population, the engagement of the youth is crucial to boost the agri-fishery sector,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar.

Statistics shows that the number of farm workers has been declining at the rate of 1.5 percent every year since 2007. In a span of five years, from 2015 to 2020, employment has slumped from 11.8 to 9.8 million. Majority in the youth sector opted to enter into other industries as they looked at agriculture as a dying and obsolete industry.

“Our youth plays a crucial role in the government’s food security target. We need them to get on board as they have the defining attributes when it comes to bright and fresh ideas, their out-of-the-box thinking, and full grasp on modern trends and technologies will be a game changer in food production,” the DA chief said.

“And we have numerous projects and programs at the Department to support them to start their agri-fishery enterprise and realize their aspirations,” he added.

Over the years, the DA has been jumpstarting various programs and projects that seek to invite, if not usher back in, the youngbloods into farming and other agricultural activities in the forms of scholarships, mentorships, agribusiness trainings and courses, grants and loan programs, among many.

“We have scholarship program under the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF) which provides support to students taking up agriculture/agribusiness courses. We have the Mentoring and Attracting Youth in Agribusiness (MAYA), which is a mentoring program that aims to develop them into competent, skilled, and employment-ready young workforce. We also have the Kapital Access for Young Agriperenurs (KAYA), which provides uncollateralized loans of up to P500,000 at zero interest, to fund their agribusiness venture,” Sec. Dar explained.

He further mentioned that the government is ready to provide the necessary interventions to motivate more youth to go into the business of food production including training and technical assistance to engage them in various activities to secure and sustain the food supply chain of the country.

The two-day summit will serve as a venue for the youth to interact with youth leaders and youth advocates, build their network, and learn from their experiences through various breakout sessions. With the theme, “PLANT: Producing Leaders in Agriculture towards the New Thinking,” the event will also highlight opportunities that are available for the youth sector through various programs and services of DA.

Leading and organizing the summit is the office of Undersecretary for Special Concerns Waldo Carpio, in collaboration with the Bureau of Agriculture Research (BAR), Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fishery (PCAF), and the National Convergence Initiative for Sustainable Rural Development (NCI-SRD). ### (DA StratComms)

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