SEARCA trains youth in agricultural skills

THE Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) conducted a two-week plant-growing competition to further immerse participants in the SEARCA Youth Ambassadors Platform (SAYAP) in agriculture through hands-on experiences.

The contest was the second activity under the Green Skills for SEARCA Youth program done through the organization's Partnerships Unit (PU) and with the Dagatan Family Farm School Inc. in line with the celebration of this year's International Youth Day. SAYAP is SEARCA's internal youth empowerment platform for young staff and was relaunched with a community relations and agripreneurship activity in August in Batangas.

During the program's second phase, SEARCA Director Glenn Gregorio guided four pairs of the center's youth staff members in planting string bean (Galante) seeds and gave them tips on basic gardening and farming practices they may consider in the competition.

Two weeks after the seeds were sown, he visited the SEARCA Sky Garden to check on the plants and choose the winning string bean.

Winning the contest were Kim Louisse Patagan and Ivy Rosemarie Ortiguero, project associates from the SEARCA Emerging Innovation for Growth Department.

Joined by Loise Ann Carandang, PU senior associate for communications, the winning pair was sponsored by PU to participate in the mobile workshop sessions held on November 14 to 15 of the Second International Conference on School-plus-Home Gardens cum Biodiversity Enhancement and Enterprise (SHGBEE2).

The workshops were held at the Central Philippines State University campus and facilities in Kabankalan City and Danjugan Island, Cauayan, Negros Occidental.

Led by SEARCA's Research and Thought Leadership Department, SHGBEE2's theme, "Nurturing Healthy, Biodiverse and Entrepreneurial Communities," is also aligned with the 2023 International Youth Day theme, "Green Skills for Youth: Toward a Sustainable World."

Gregorio said the youth staff members' participation in all three mobile workshops culminates the Green Skills for SEARCA Youth program.

The PU-led SAYAP, which operates within SEARCA's banner youth engagement initiative, Young Forces for Agricultural Innovation or #Y4AGRI, is composed of SEARCA youth staff members ages between 20 and 35, while Green Skills for SEARCA Youth is one of the youth engagement activities of the center for fiscal year 2023-2024.