DAHILAYAN, Bukidnon (PIA)--Developing the youth is a continuous challenge for government extension service workers, particularly in the agriculture sector.
Poverty in rural areas, where agriculture is the primary source of income, is prevalent. Since most youth associate agriculture with poverty, it discourages them from pursuing their dreams through farming since they prefer to take chances in the cities and take blue collar jobs.
Taking a closer look, those who practiced conventional or traditional agriculture often remained at the threshold, if not below the poverty level. In spite of the effort of the Agricultural Extension Workers (AEWs) to bring the newest farming technologies, farmers still tend to hold on to their old practices, like monocropping, conventional farming, planting before finding their market, or selling their produce fresh instead of adding value before marketing. More often than not, they usually treat farming as a livelihood instead of a business.
Meanwhile, the declining interest of the youth in agriculture should not be ignored, and that young people should be exposed to the best practices and be taught with the principles of entrepreneurship by the successful farmers.
The Agricultural Training Institute-Regional Training Center (ATI-RTC)-10 in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Office (DA-RFO)-10 conducted a Regional Youth Camp (RYC) with the theme, “4-H Level UP: Leading Excellence in Agriculture through Viable Innovations, Empowering Leaders, and Unleashing 4-H Potentials,” July 26-28, 2022 at Alomah’s Place and Nature Farm, Dahilayan, Manolo Fortich, here.
The activity was conducted to instill among the youth participants that farming is a business and there is money in it. Also, it aims to enhance the participant's knowledge and skills on the latest agricultural technologies, develop leadership and artistic abilities, share best farming experiences, and foster healthy competition.
The activity was participated by 20 participants composed of 4-H Club members and coordinators from the Province of Bukidnon and Cagayan de Oro City.
In one of their activities, the participants were able to learn and identify how to manage their stress by knowing themselves better towards positive mental health. Likewise, they were inspired by the sharing of best-farming practices from the resource speakers who are themselves successful young-agripreneurs like Ted and Bong Quemado of Mushroom City, and from Grace Marie Amor Mahistrado-Luceñara.
Some of their learnings include the importance of agritourism and the use of social media like Facebook as one of their marketing tools in selling their products and farm produce.
Part of the highlights of the annual RYC activity is the conduct of 4-H ceremonies like flag ritual, opening ceremony, candle lighting ceremony, and various contests such as Promotional Video Making, 4-H Debate, Innovative Technology on Organic Fertilizer Production, Indigenous Chandelier Making, Canvas painting with the theme, "Pagsasaka sa Kanayunan tungo sa Masaganang Kinabukasan,” 4-H Trivia Party Quiz; and Search for Lakan at Lakambini ng 4-H Club 2022. Physical activities like the amazing race were also conducted.
A certificate of recognition was awarded to all contest winners and also a certificate of appreciation was given to all partners and participants.
For the Search for Lakan at Lakambini ng 4-H 2022, the winners include Erap L. Paayas (champion for Lakan) and Chaasa Angela Billones (champion for Lakambini), Cuthbert Kyrus C. Batoy (1st Runner-up Lakan), and Glydel S. Manila (1st Runner-up for Lakambini).
Judha Mae E. Abalde bagged the first place for the Promotional Video Making Contest while Maydene V. Demesana won the Innovative Technology on Organic Fertilizer Production contest. Angel V. Demesana bagged the first place for the Indigenous Chandelier Making contest and for the 4-H Debate, Ariel C. Padojinog was hailed the champion while Erap L. Paayas got first place.
For the Canvas Painting Clear, Jerome C. Balaba has been declared as the champion and 1st Runner-up is Philip Kenn M. Silicay. (ATI-10/PIA-10)