THE WAY FORWARD │ Level Up Philippine Agriculture!

More than 800 agri graduates start agribusiness internship

Author: DA Communications Group | 12 March 2021

From more than 3,000 applicants nationwide, 808 have qualified as interns under the Mentoring and Attracting Youth in Agribusiness (MAYA) program of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

“You are the chosen few. You are taking a path forward, a journey, so to speak. The field of agriculture needs all the minds and power that every youth can unleash in terms of elevating and growing Philippine agriculture,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar told the first batch of MAYA interns as he handed over their respective “notice of award” on March 10, 2021, at the DA Central Office in Quezon City.

Coordinated by the DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), the MAYA is a six-month internship program that aims to transform a cadre of young Filipinos into “agripreneurs” or technocrats.

“When I came in as the servant-leader at DA in August 2019, I have given special attention to entice the younger generation engage in agriculture through agribusiness — as it is the way forward to unlock the potential of Philippine agriculture,” Secretary Dar said.

“Our personnel staff in agriculture are already aging, and thus we need to put up this MAYA program for two purposes. First, they will have to be exposed to the field of agriculture and agribusiness; and second, to actual farm situation and agribusiness operations,” he added.

DA-BAR Director Vivencio Mamaril said MAYA will be conducted through experiential learning, or a learner-centric methodology, that will enable the interns — who will receive a monthly allowance of P20,000 — to put into immediate use the knowledge and skills that they’ve learned in a relevant fashion.

“This internship will hone my skills, not just my personal skill, but my technical skills, helping me to grow and know more about agri-fisheries, and what it offers to the youth,” said Billy Val Hernandez, a biology graduate from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

For Jenifer Brosas, a fishery graduate from the Central Luzon State University, she said MAYA will serve as a stepping-stone for her to be exposed in actual agricultural activities as well as entrepreneurship.

“The MAYA interns will be mentored by designated DA personnel. The first three weeks will be spent in their holding offices, wherein they will undergo a blended approach of mentoring using a specially-designed curriculum that will equip them either as agripreneur or be a part of the employment-ready workforce of the DA family,” said Director Mamaril.

“The last 18 weeks will prepare them for the real world. They will be deployed in DA partner agencies, preferably private organizations involved in food production, for them to have better appreciation, understanding, and awareness of how food is being produced,” he added.

“We need to transform Philippine agriculture in many ways. I believe the youth of today can contribute in attaining our ‘OneDA’ agenda, particularly our four major strategies: farm consolidation, modernization, industrialization, and professionalization,” Secretary Dar concluded. ### (Rita dela Cruz, DA StratComms)

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