VIGAN, Ilocos Sur—Aimed at making agriculture more appealing to today’s youth, success stories and product innovations of young farmers all over the country were put on spotlight during the 67th Farm Youth (4-H) National Convention.
John Lord Auman, Michael Elechicon, and John Andrew Nero were some of the 4-H Club members who shared insights and lessons learned from their experiences as country representatives to international programs for farm youth in Australia, South Korea, and Japan, respectively.
Christian Naman from Valencia, Bukidnon also shared his best practices and story as the 2018 Gawad Saka Outstanding Young Farmer/Fisherfolk. Naman is known for his fish-breeding business which he learned from his grandfather. He is also into swine production and grows vegetables such as squash, kangkong, taro, and string beans which are not only for their consumption but also serve as food for the tilapia and hito that he breeds.
With this year’s theme, “BIDA 4-H! Bringing Innovation and Development in Agriculture through 4-H Clubs”, the convention highlights the importance of the youth, especially 4-H Club members, in improving agriculture as a profitable enterprise.
Aside from the stories of exemplary young farmers, the event also served as an avenue to showcase the innovative skills, creativity, and special talents of 4-H Club members through different contests.
First place winners for the major contests were Lovely Faith Delos Santos from Region XII for the Cacao-based Processing and Packaging Technology competition; Ressie Umaran from Region X for Terrarium Glass Gardening; and Kenneth Dablio from Region XII for the 4-H Promotional Video-Making contest.
For the minor contests, Joshua de Villa from Region IV-A bagged the first place for the 4-H Himig Handog Singing and Songwriting Competition; Noriebelle Salibad from Cordillera Administrative Region for the 4-H Quiz Bee; Mark Libuna from Region IV-A for the Spoken Word Poetry contest; and Tommy Jones Gepuliano from Region XII for the On-the-Spot Canvass Painting competition.
Overall winners were also awarded, with Region XII getting the championship title and Region VII as the runner-up.
Besides the contests, different topics were also discussed in line with the four-fold development areas of the 4-H Club (Head, Heart, Hands, and Health). For “Head”, Kevin Cuevas of Tagani.ph talked about “The Future of Agribusiness” while 4-H Club National President Ricmel Falqueza presented the 4-H National Federation community outreach report at the Ilocos Sur Provincial Jail for “Heart”.
For “Hands”, Gary Ayuste of Beengo Farm discussed “Organic Agriculture: BEEginers Love at First Sting”. Lastly, for “Health”, Wilson Baniaga of Vigan City talked about HIV/AIDS Awareness.
Delos Santos, who won the Cacao-based Processing and Packaging Technology contest, described the event as very helpful for young people like them as it enhances their talents and gives them the opportunity to meet people from other regions in the country.
Reflecting on the importance of the cacao-based contest, she said “It is not about how good your product tastes. It is about innovation. It is about how you can maximize the resources that the Philippines has.”
Mark Vincent Arabejo from Bohol, for his part, vowed to help their 4-H Club grow further by using his experiences from the said convention.
“I also hope that we can encourage young people here in the Philippines [to join the 4-H Club] so they can have a good future. Because here at the 4-H Club, we are the star!” he said.
The 67th Farm Youth National Convention was held last May 28-31, 2019 at Hotelinda Suites, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur.