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Gov’t programs attracting youth to venture into farming

LEGAZPI CITY --- The Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office 5 noted a significant change in the demographics of young farmers engaging in agriculture.

DA Bicol Regional spokesperson Lovella Guarin said the increasing involvement of young people in farming and other agricultural activities is reflected in the records of the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA).

In Bicol, there are more or less 550,000 farmers registered in the RSBSA out of the 670,000 agri workers pre-listed by the LGUs.

“In the report of the National RSBSA Directorate, the average age of farmers is now 49 years old. This is partly because many young farmers have already registered in the RSBSA. In the Agri Youth category, the youngest is 18 years old, and the oldest is 30 years old. However, in Bicol, the oldest farmer registered in RSBSA is 101 years old,” Guarin added.

She also attributed the shift of the youth in farming to the various programs of the department like the Young Farmers Challenge (YFC) Start up , which offers financial grant assistance for the youth who will engage in new agri-fishery enterprises.

Mark Sanchez (third from right) proudly shows his watermelon harvest from his farm in Polangui, Albay. In photo: DA Regional Field Office 5 photographer/videographer Jun Collantes (far left) and DA RFO 5 Regional Spokesperson Lovella Guarin (2nd to the left) Photo credits: DA RO5

Mark Sanchez, a 26-year old resident of Brgy. Balangibang, Polangui, Albay, attributed his fondness for farming to his father. He witnessed how his father embraced farming to provide food on their table and sustain the needs of their family.

“I like farming since my father taught me how to love it, not just as a source of livelihood but also as a family tradition,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez said his family is grateful to the Department of Agriculture for providing him the necessary technical support in his chosen profession like the provision of various farming trainings spearheaded by the DA regional office.

He is cultivating diverse range of High Value Crops (HVCs), including corn, and vegetables such as chili and eggplant in his 4-hectare farm. He also engaged in palay cultivation and animal industry with the help of DA.

Just recently, Sanchez harvested more than 5 tons of watermelon or pakwan from his farm. He is selling his produce at a farmgate price of Php30.00 per kilo.

The young farmer from Albay is enjoining young Bicolanos to engage in farming as a noble profession, highlighting its potential to generate sufficient income for the family with the assistance of the DA.

He added that if more farmers of his age will engage in farming, they can help in the government’s effort in ensuring sustained food security in the country. (PIA 5)


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