Philippine Department of Agriculture – Tokyo
Young farmers are the ‘good news’ in PHL agri – Sen. Imee

Young farmers are the ‘good news’ in PHL agri – Sen. Imee

Twenty-two young agripreneurs from the National Capital Region (NCR) were bestowed recognition during the Provincial Level awarding of the Young Farmers Challenge (YFC) Program on August 31, 2022.

The honorees are the geniuses behind 11 enterprises that won as Provincial winners of the Young Farmers Challenge. The winners qualify for the regional level competition.

Now in its second run, the YFC is a competitive financial grant program by the Department for Filipino youth—whether individual or group—who are aspiring to pursue profitable and sustainable agri-fishery enterprises.

The program is an initiative of the office of Senator Imee Marcos.

In her message, the lady Senator referred to the awardees as the good news of Philippine agriculture, considering the number of issues plaguing the sector as of late.

“Endangered species na kayo, wala nang young farmer. Ang average farmer umaapak na ng halos sisenta anyos. Wala pang 10 million ang direktamenteng nagtatrabaho sa lupa o ‘di kaya sa processing o marketing at distribusyon. Ang liit-liit na lamang, kaya hindi nakakagulat na nagkukulang tayo sa iba’t ibang pagkain,” the Senator addressed the awardees.

She added that the YFC is an initiative to solve the current food crisis in the country while also debunking misconceptions on agriculture as a low-income career.

“Sana hindi lang siya contest, kasi kayo ang sagot sa lahat ng problema ng agrikultura; ‘pagkat alam natin na kailangan ang susunod na salinlahi ay matatag ang paninindigan at paniniwala sa food security, food safety—lahat ito, kailangang harapin natin,” Marcos said.

She also affirmed that the YFC winners from the NCR are living proof that urban agriculture is possible and that it must be further developed in order to capacitate the region to provide food for its every resident.

The YFC Program has now provided assistance to 1,384 youth beneficiaries. A total of 914 small agri-fishery enterprises will also be established this year—all of which were impressive additions to the 806 youth-led businesses from its first run in 2021.

From the 22 NCR Provincial Level awardees, only a few will advance to the Regional Level and, potentially, the National Level of the YFC Program. The participants are judged based on their business proposal.

“In building up a business model, you have to begin with the end in mind. To see is to believe, but to see it twice is to understand. You start it with the mind—you visualize it, you try to be in that scenario wherein nandoon ka in the future na what’s happening, and you feel na super succeeding ‘yong ginagawa ninyo. And number two, you see it physically or the real world. You go to an actual working environment or working site, and nakikita niyo ‘yong nangyayari. That’s how you validate your vision na kaya pala itong gawin and you can do more on top of it,” shared Zagana’s Chief Executive Officer Joshua Aragon, who is also a member of the YFC NCR panel of judges.

The NCR Provincial Level awardees were:

Bianca Camille De Gracia Alvarez, Mang Alimango’s Crab Fattening in Home-based Vertical Farm using Recirculatory Aquaculture System (Mandaluyong City);

Jay Vee Estacio, Daloy Ilog Aquaponics (Taguig City);

Michael Angelo S. Ragasa, Project Potted Plants (Taguig City);

Jay-cie Soriano Lota, Fresh Project PH (Valenzuela City);

Alexandre Timothy A. Alvarez, Aseptic Agricultural Farming (Pasig City);

Robyn Camille Mijares and Sean Ramiel De Guzman, Grow School (Las Piñas City);

Jonalyn E. Rivera and Kenn Rienzi P. Camacho, GE and JO CACAO Co. (Quezon City);

Marybeth Q. Dineros and Akira Genesis R. Quina, Quin Crab Vertical Crab Farm (Quezon City);

Ernest Cedric Lee, Gian Ymanuel Enguerra, and Sheena M. Uy, Kalookan Fresh Greens (Caloocan City);

Mhardie Joe De Leon, Crenz Ainah Gacuray, Matthew Lim, and Tristan Jay Pancho, Green Gains PH (Quezon City); and