Project of PhilRice, Kiwanis aims to make agriculture attractive to young Pinoys

The government and the private sector are intensifying efforts to revitalize agriculture through youth education to help prevent the imminent shortage of food due to the aging of farmers.

The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and two clubs of Kiwanis International will undertake a project that seeks to make agriculture more attractive to the youth.

Citing information from the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture, Glenda Hufano, governor of Kiwanis International-Philippine Luzon District, said that with the typical age of Filipino farmers falling between 55 and 59 years old, experts have projected that the Philippines will confront a critical decline of farmers in 10 to 12 years.

“The project we are collaborating on aims to educate children not only about rice but also to raise them to be progressive, entrepreneurial food producers,” she said during the signing of the memorandum of agreement in Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija last November 7.

Based on the agreement, the Kiwanis Club of Pasay and Rice Granary Science City of Muñoz will establish and maintain a campsite at the FutureRice Farm in Nueva Ecija.

“This campsite, called SPARK, will provide an engaging, educational alternative to malls and digital entertainment. Campers can try farm adventure games such as kayaking and obstacle races while learning about rice technologies including farm machines, digital apps, and renewable energy,” Hufano said.

In the FutureRice Farm, campers will see high-yielding rice varieties and experience farm automation and diversified farming.

Kiwanis International will also co-sponsor the annual ceremonial harvesting at the Rice Garden in Rizal Park, which was established for urban dwellers, especially the youth, to appreciate the importance of rice to the country’s culture, nourishment, and economy.

This partnership builds upon earlier initiatives between Kiwanis International Philippine Luzon District and PhilRice supporting farming communities of the Rice Business Innovation System (RiceBIS) Program.

Rice supply

Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has assured the public that there is enough affordable supply of rice in the market.

According to DA Assistant Secretary and Spokesperson Arnel de Mesa, the country has almost completed the wet season harvest.

“We have harvested about 90 percent of palay across the nation, bought at P22.00 per kilogram,” he said.

He added that the volume is currently sold at an average of P23-25/kilo farmgate price. The average retail price for regular well milled is at P42.80 while prevailing price for well milled is at P45.