Thousands apply for youth agribiz mentorship program
A few hours after the announcement was posted on social media, on February 9, 2021, calling for applicants under the Mentoring and Attracting Youth in Agribusiness (MAYA) program of the Department of Agriculture (DA), the online system was deluged with interested individuals, exceeding by four-fold the required number of interns.
“It’s a good indication that many of our youth are eager and interested to learn and get involved in agri-fishery enterprises. They are simply waiting for the right opportunity, and that is, through our MAYA platform,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar.
Coordinated by the DA’s Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), MAYA is a 24-week internship program that aims to develop young Filipinos into agri-fishery entrepreneurs or “agripreneurs” or possibly technocrats, training as future leaders of the DA or of their respective communities and local government units (LGUs).
MAYA is open to all Filipinos, 20 to 30 years old, who should be a graduate of any four- or six-year degree course, preferably on agriculture, fisheries, agribusiness, and other related academic disciplines.
“MAYA will be conducted through experiential learning, or a learner-centric methodology, that allows the interns to put into immediate use the knowledge and skills that they’ve learned in a relevant fashion,” said DA-BAR Director Vivencio Mamaril.
Initially, 800 interns will be accepted from among the interested applicants, which to date reached more than 3,000. They will be deployed as interns to different DA national (Office of the Secretary) and regional field offices (RFOs) for 24 weeks, with a P20,000-monthly allowance.
After their six-month internship, they may either opt to venture into an agri-fishery enterprise for which they may apply for a zero-interest loan with the DA’s Agricultural and Credit Policy Council (ACPC) or pursue a career in the DA or any government agency.
“With an aging population of farmers and fisherfolk, we must continuously motivate, inspire and capacitate younger Filipinos to take on the challenge to help feed the nation, and earn in the process. Let us show them that there is indeed money and a bright future in agriculture,” Secretary Dar concluded. ### (Rita dela Cruz, DA StratComms)