Young generation urged to take on agriculture

Magtanim ay 'di biro, indeed.

The Philippine Rice Institute (PhilRice), an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture, is asking today's generation to engage in agriculture.

PhilRice is encouraging the Filipino youth along with volunteer organization Kiwanis International to look at the agriculture sector as an option for the future.

They are also looking to establish and maintain a campsite at the FutureRice Farm in Nueva Ecija.

They said that with the establishment of the camp, they can lure the youth to engage in farming as most farmers today are aging.

According to Glenda Hufano, governor of the Kiwanis International-Philippine Luzon district, they are looking to educate children not only about rice, but likewise raise awareness to be entrepreneurial food producers.

"The campsite will provide an engaging and 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.

The campers will be given a chance at the FutureRice Farm, to see high-yielding rice varieties and experience farm automation and diversified farming.

According to the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture, the typical age of Filipino farmers range from 55 and 59 years old.

"There is a need to re-engage the youth in agriculture. We need to encourage the younger generation to view agriculture as a viable business venture," she said.

The Philippine Journal of Science said in their published report on 2020, that more than two-thirds of Filipino rice farmers in at least three provinces do not want their children to pursue rice farming due to physical and financial hurdles.

Quoting Dr. Florencia Palis, a professor of anthropology and the author of the study, she noted that this is a guide for the government to formulate pro-poor policies.

She said that the study was based on discussions, interviews, and field observations in 13 villages of 12 municipalities in Isabela, Iloilo, and Agusan del Norte.

She noted that among the farmers, 73% of them expressed belief that their children would not have a future if they become rice farmers like them.

Thirty-two percent of the parent farmers said that a college education is more important for their children.