The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) is now on the drawing board for the development of a Youth Agri-Entrepreneurship Program, which aims to encourage the Filipino youth to venture into agriculture.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar, announced during a meeting with the local chief executives of Bicol, that the DA through ATI, will allocate funds to support young farmers to develop their own agricultural enterprise.
According to the Secretary, qualified proposals from young college degree holders, may be awarded a start-up capital loan of Php 300,000 – Php 500,000, payable in five years with zero-interest.
To address the ageing population of Filipino farmers, and assure a strong labor force for the agri-fishery sector in the coming years, DA is coming up with initiatives to motivate and encourage the young Filipinos to take interest in agricultural activities.
The Secretary urged the local leaders to make agriculture more profitable, adding that the youth will not be encouraged to go into the business of food production if they do not see its economic benefits.
He added that the younger generations will be more motivated to join the sector if they see advancements in technology and farm applications.
“We need to elevate our game,” he said
During the Bicol visit, Dar was able to secure the support and commitment of the local government units of Bicol to work with the national government to address hunger and poverty.
“We are here to enhance partnership with LGUs hoping that it brings great impact to the improvement of the quality of lives of farmers’ and fisherfolk,” Dar said.
The meeting, held on October 8, 2019, was conducted to identify programs and projects that need policy recommendations, which the DA and LGUs can implement together.
Dar cited that during the budget presentation at the House of Representatives, the Agriculture Department received overwhelming support from the minority house, which he considers a milestone.
“We need strong legislative support to develop Philippine agriculture,” he explained.
He added that strong partnership with private sectors must also be considered in designing DA’s programs and projects.
“We will never reach the potential of Philippine agriculture if we don’t bring in the private sector and work with them,” he said. ### (Kristel Merle/Oda Rodriguez, DA-AFID)