Masaganang Agrikultura, Maunlad na Ekonomiya!

DA urges youth to go agri

Author: DA-AFID | 2 September 2019

“With ageing farmers, we cannot by any means attain and ensure food security.”

“We must motivate younger Filipinos to take on the challenge to help feed the nation, and earn in the process,” said Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar, during recent provincial sorties.

He emphasized that to attain a food-secure Philippines with prosperous farmers and fishers, younger Filipinos must engage in agriculture, fisheries, food processing, and other agribusiness ventures.

“We have to establish a nurturing environment for our youth so they could be enticed to engage in food production activities,” Dar said during a Farmer’s Forum, in Lingayen, Pangasinan.

He said the average age of farmers today ranges between 57 and 60 years old.

“In the coming five to eight years, these farmers will be retiring, and who will take their place?” Dar asked.

From 2008 to 2018, the Philippine agriculture workforce dipped from 35% to 26%. The alarming nine-percentage point drop means there were fewer farmers last year than ten years ago.

“We need to attract the younger generation to go into the business of agriculture. Kapag makita nila na may kita , they will come back,” Dar explained.

“We will establish a management trainee program at the Office of the Secretary or OSEC, in partnership with the private sector,” said Dar, who is on his 27th day in office, as of September 2.

He wants to attract the young graduates of major State Universities and Colleges, and other major universities in the country to join the DA management team.

“Eventually, these young people will partner with private institution so they can hone their skills even more and focus on their fields of expertise,” he said.

“We need to innovate. We will establish a youth entrepreneurship fund, so we can produce a think tank for the Department, who will be the future leaders of the DA,” the Secretary added.

Currently, the DA’s Agriculture Competitiveness enhancement Fund (ACEF) provides qualified students P73,000 under its Grant-in-Aid in Higher Education Program (GIAHEP).

The DA aims to encourage more youth to pursue agriculture, forestry, fisheries, veterinary medicine, education and related agricultural academic programs.

In addition, DA’s Agricultural Training Institute (DA-ATI) offers scholarship assistance to children of small farmers and fishers. The DA-ATI also offers a two-year scholarship program to 4-H Club members, and a training program for male out-of-school youth to experience a two-year hands-on training in Japan in partnership with the Japan Agricultural Exchange Council (JAEC) and Japan Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (Japan-MAFF). ### (Oda Rodriguez, DA-AFID)

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