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Agri for Youth: A Legacy to Combat Poverty and Malnutrition

The Young Farmers Challenge (YFC), an initiative of Senator Imee Marcos, is now giving opportunities to young entrepreneurs to earn better and more than other white collar jobs. It is now being implemented by the Department of Agriculture (DA) through the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division.

The program is a legacy in alleviating poverty, malnutrition and other socio-economic challenges, especially in the countrysides.

"Through the YFC Program, it helps young farmers to access capital as their seed in running their start-up business. Aside from this, recipients can build linkages and connections to other enterprises as well as in marketing our product from local to national and even international market," said Marlon Balunsat, one of the pioneer beneficiaries of the YFC Fund: Kabataang Agribiz Competitive Grant Assistance Program, who received P50,000 financial assistance for his mushroom growing venture.

Side by side with the opening of the 3-day Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita Trade Fair from November 9-12, 2023 at Robinsons Place, Tuguegarao City, the department also recognized the seven enterprise awardees of YFC that received P150,000 each and three regional winners in the upscale category out of six regional finalists that received P300,000 each.

In her message, Marcos assured that her office will serve as a bridge to provide better opportunities to bring prosperity and inclusive development.

DA Regional Executive Director Rose Mary Aquino expresses her joy seeing more youth venturing on agriculture, and enjoying financial and technical assistance from the government. (Image by PIA)

"As your senator, I will push legislative measures on food security, agri fishery development, agribusiness, and MSMEs assistance," she added.

DA OIC Regional Executive Director Rose Mary Aquino said she is happy to see the growing interest of the youth in agriculture through their involvement in different agriculture-related activities and programs of the government.

"The awardees of the YFC Program are the living testament na may pera sa agrikultura (there's money in agriculture), contrary to the common belief," she added that the program has provided an avenue for the youth to pitch their profitable business ideas to be given with financial grant assistance as start-up capital.

Regional heads of different line agencies in Cagayan Valley assure their support to the young farmer entrepreneurs by providing technical assistance, marketing and promotions. (Image by PIA)

Since its pilot implementation in 2021, DA has awarded 100 youths all over the region P50,000 each at the provincial level; three enterprise awardees were given P150,000 at the regional level; and our national awardee from Isabela was given P300,000.00.

Last year, the number grew to 111 youth awardees at the provincial level; and seven enterprise awardees at the regional level; AIRIN Innovations of Nueva Vizcaya garnered the 1st prize in the group enterprise national category.

The YFC Program has expanded to cater to the youth who are interested in establishing their start-ups as well as students in agriculture and agri-related courses at State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) who want to participate in intercollegiate competitions. 

Mall goers buy fresh and affordable agri produce of young entrepreneurs as in an Agri Trade Fair at Robinsons Mall. (Image by PIA)

Aquino said agribusiness ideas of the youth are anchored to digital farming making their production automated such as smart brooders for chicks, mud crab fattening that uses that uses an irrigation-like system; and automatic sprinklers for mushroom production, among others.

"As our continued support to the growing interest and enthusiasm of youth to venture into agribusiness, we commit financial and technical support in developing our Provincial Research Centers/Experiment Stations in the region as smart-farming learning centers and offer the assistance of Technology Business Incubation Center for students/young farmers in partnership with SUCs and TESDA-accredited Learning Sites”.

Aside from young farmers, DA also awarded a total of P27.6 million of capital and facilities to around 16 farmer's cooperatives and associates (FCA) to further expand their enterprises.

This is to commend their interest and to take advantage of the assistance provided to improve their role as food commodity suppliers, thereby ensuring the availability of food.
In 2020-2021, through the Kadiwa Financial Grant, RED Aquino said they have provided a P42.1 million financial grant to 38 FCAs and Community-based Organizations and 10 LGUs benefiting 19,897 farmer members.

This year, about P27.6 million in financial grants was awarded to 10 FCAs and six LGUs benefiting 6,484 farmer members.

"We are envisioning to upscale the KADIWA through e-market or via available online platforms with our public and private partners in line with the increasing utilization of digital market,” she said. (GVB/PIA Region 2)

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Gene Baquiran


Region 2

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