MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture recently launched a program that seeks to provide financial grant assistance to youth interested in enterprises in the agri-fishery sector.
Called “Young Farmers Challenges: Kabataang Agribiz,” the agriculture department seeks to usher back the youth to agriculture, and engage them in activities and processes related to farming and fishing. It likewise aims to help them put up ventures in line with agricultural development and food production.
“The main objective of this initiative is to encourage and motivate the young Filipinos to go back into farming and so we want to ensure that we give them assistance every step of the way,” Kristine Evangelista, assistant secretary for Agribusiness and Marketing Assistant said.
Farm workers declining
In the Philippines, the DA said the majority of the youth are no longer interested in agriculture. The average age of farmers as of 2018 is 57 years old.
The number of farm workers has also declined at around 1.5% per year since 2007. Those employed in agriculture likewise declined to 9.8 million in 2020 from 11.84 million in 2015.
In view of this, the DA developed this program through the guidance of Agriculture Secretary William Dar with the support of Sen. Imee Marcos.
Dar is hoping that the Filipino youth’s innovation and aggressive drive will further make agriculture sustainable.
“The young people chose to leave rural areas to pursue more lucrative jobs on commercial centers. Upang masolusyunan ang problemang ito, gumawa ang DA ng program para sa kabataang Pilipino upang makapagsimula sila ng kanilang agribusiness sa production, value-adding, innovation, at iba pa (To resolve this problem, the DA created a program so that the Filipino youth can start their agribusiness),” Dar said.
Young farmers challenge
The program is open to youth with proposed agri-business ventures that have a potential for profit. The micro-enterprise must be operated by an individual youth or as a joint venture between two or more youth.
Chosen young Filipinos will be awarded financial aid amounting to P74 million that could serve as start-up capital for their planned enterprises focused on crop and livestock production, fisheries, trading, processing, integrated farming, agricultural technology and similar endeavors.
The DA said all interested natural-born Filipino youth ages 18 to 30, who must be ready and willing to engage in agriculture and fishery business enterprise will be entertained.
It added that out-of-school youth applicants are also welcome to apply while groups and associations are also encouraged to join.
Here are other criteria for applicants:
- Preferably with agriculture and fishery experience or related training (Formal or non-formal)
- For groups, all members must pass the eligibility criteria (age)
- Maximum of five members only
Meanwhile, those who are not allowed to join the financial grant assistance program are the following:
- Employees of DA, Regional Field Offices, bureaus, attached agencies and corporations including their relatives up to the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity.
- Previous recipients of assistance or awards in cash or in-kind amounting to P50,000 above from DA, Regional Field Offices, bureaus, attached agencies and corporations.
Qualified applicants must send their Business Model Canvas (BMC) with potential profit to the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service (AMAS) of the DA Central Office and to the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division in the regional offices.
To ensure that the applicants will comply with the requirements, AMAS and Agricultural Training Institute will hold simultaneous virtual orientation nationwide for the BMC preparation.
Interested applicants may submit the requirements until June 15, 2021.
Meanwhile, here are the awards to be received by the chosen youth per stages of the financial grant competition:
- Provincial – P50,000 per enterprise (1,300 winners Nationwide)
- Regional – P150,000 per enterprise (3 winners per Region)
- National – P300,000 per enterprise (6 winners Nationwide)
The DA said it would consider the following evaluation criteria in choosing the winners:
- Entrepreneur attitude
- Revenue stream of the business proposal
- Value addition
The DA Secretariat will send a Notice of Award to provincial winners with information on where and when they can claim their prize and their corresponding responsibilities.