May 18, 2024

An official of the Department of Agriculture-Cordillera urged young individuals to take part in the second Young Farmers Challenge (YFC), a nationwide search for young minds who could bring out ideas to help them or the farming industry prosper and promote food sustainability.

DA-Cordillera Director Cameron Odsey said the competition is open to those aged 18 to 30 years old who are looking for start-up capital for their agricultural projects.

“This is a good program that will encourage our youth. In fact during the pandemic, there were several people who saw the value of going in agriculture, especially when most sources of income stopped and the department had many assistance for people who want to produce food,” he said.

During the competition, participants have to come up with a brief business proposal, which they will have to implement if they get selected to advance all the way to the national level.

Up for grabs are prize money worth P50,000 each for 1,276 winners in the provincial level; P100,000 each for 48 winners in the regional level; and P300,000 each for six national winners.

Odsey said a Cordilleran was among the YFC national awardees in 2021 and received the P300,000.

Participants who will hurdle the provincial, regional, and national rounds stand to get a total of around P500,000, which they can use as capital for their project.

“We thank you for giving the youth nationwide a competitive grant assistance fund. It is a jumpstart of an activity that youth of this nation will strive to do more in agriculture and express themselves in agriventure that will occur from agriculture,” said Harry Osboken, national awardee of the YFC in 2021.

“I encourage the youth to join and let us show that we can again enter in the national level and show that we are the source of food, the salad bowl in the country,” he said.

The nationwide tilt is a brainchild of Sen. Imee Marcos, who visited Benguet recently where she highlighted the aging population of farmers in Cordillera who are mostly aged 57 to 59 years old.

“They are getting old the youth refuse to go to the field and till the land because there is no income with the very low prices of crops. That is the reason the youth leave for other places and pursue other careers but there are many of them interested so we have to move forward and go high-tech in farming and through digital marketing and selling online of the products and value-adding,” Marcos said.

She said they plan to expand the program to marginalized sector like women and indigenous peoples.

“We want them to go back to agriculture by providing them additional funds and allowing them to see that there is income in agriculture,” she said.  – PNA