GIVEN the country’s ageing farmers, Agriculture Secretary William Dar has emphasized the need for the youth to be active in agri-fishery enterprise to boost the sector.
Dar encouraged the Filipino youth specifically the graduating college students to make a difference by engaging themselves in this endeavor and help ensure the attainment of a food-secure and resilient Philippine agriculture leading to a better performing economy.
“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,” said Dar in a webinar titled, “Philippine Agriculture and Economy in the Time of COVID-19.”
Students according to the DA chief need not worry much since the government has numerous projects to support them and young agripreneurs to start their agri-fishery enterprise and at the same time realize their aspirations.
One such program is the Kapital Access for Young Agripreneurs (KAYA), that offers a non-collateral loan worth P300,000 to P500,000, payable in five years at zero interest.
Interested millennials, 18 to 30 years old, should only present a business proposal for review and assessment. Once their loans are validated and approved, they will be mentored by experts from partner state universities, NGOs, and the private sector.
“We also have the Mentoring and Attracting Youth in Agribusiness (MAYA), which is a six-month internship program aimed at developing a competent, skilled, and employment-ready youthful workforce,” Secretary Dar said.
At the end of their internship, these students will have the option to either join as a regular employee of the DA or embark on his or her preferred agribusiness enterprise.
“That’s the goal, we need to build up the future human capital of Philippine agriculture in the bureaucracy. If they chose to open a business, they have to present a business plan and we will give them a loan under KAYA,” the DA chief said.
Also, the DA, through the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), has partnered with Go Negosyo of Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Secretary Joey Concepcion in its “Kapatid Agri Mentor Me Program” (KAMMP), a face-to-face mentorship via teleconference of prospective agripreneurs, including the youth.
The DA is also planning to conduct a youth summit in agriculture towards the end of the year.
Another initiative is the launching of the Youth Entrepreneurship Council (YEC) to be implemented by the DA’s Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF). The YEC is a network of young entrepreneurs learning from each other through the conduct of fora as a platform for interaction, dialogues, and sharing of ideas.