BUTUAN CITY -- From the 11 qualified provincial winners who pitch their Business Proposals, three young farmers emerge as regional winners and will represent Caraga Region at the national level, during the Provincial Level Competition of Young Farmers Challenge: Kabataang Agribiz held in Watergate Hotel, Butuan City on November 22.
Erico Calumba and Patricia Botecario of Pinamanculan, Butuan City with their agribusiness ‘LAPAQUEÑO, a hand sanitizer product derived from Nipa, ranked first among all the presenters. Ranking second is Jomarie Jovellar of Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur with his agribusiness title ‘JOLO Mushroom Delight’, a value-adding venture made from mushrooms. Meanwhile, Francis Joseph Perdigon of Manila de Bugabos, Butuan City ranked third for his ‘Duck Raising for Balut/Penoy and Salted Egg Production’ project.
The provincial winners will receive an additional working capital of P150,000 that they can use to improve and acquire additional equipment, machinery, or materials for their chosen agribusiness.
According to Calumba and Botecario, they anchor their agribusiness on the nipa plant since it is the primary commodity of their barangay.
“We utilize this plant as a hand sanitizer since this is very well-known in our community and this will be very useful since it’s pandemic. Through this we can also help our family and the community as well,” they said.
In terms of the preparation for the competition, Jovellar said that with the limited time and resources, he was still able to pitch his agribusiness about mushrooms confidently. Jovellar also said that he will procure equipment and materials from the additional working capital that will be given.
Perdigon also highlighted the importance of the youth engaging in different agricultural ventures and programs.
“As we all know agriculture is the backbone of the economy and I see it as a vital aspect for us since we rely on this sector. Through this, we can be an inspiration for the other youth, and we can also make an impact at a very young age,” Perdigon said.
DA-13 Regional Technical Director Nicandro Navia, Jr. also added, “We are always committed to helping our youth reach their full potential in the agriculture sector, we have seen so many successful young agri-prenuers who made it and we can’t wait for you to be part of that.”
Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD) Chief Lynn Pareñas also expressed her gratitude to all of the participants for taking on the challenge.
“Indeed, all of this is not just fortune but your efforts to get this far off the competition,” Pareñas said. (Kent Warren H. Fugoso, DA Caraga/PIA Caraga)