Young farmers program pushed

A HOUSE leader on Saturday said more young people from agricultural areas were turning away from farming.

Citing recent studies conducted by the STI Education Services Group Inc., deputy speaker and AAMBIS-OWA Party-list Rep. Sharon Garin said the average age of farmers in the Philippines was 57 years old. 

Senior and middle-aged farmers find it harder to pass on the work to young people. 

This, as Garin pushed for the passage of her House Bill 6277 or the Young Farmers Program Act that seeks to provide an institutionalized scholarship program for agriculture and fisheries courses in State Universities and Colleges as well as Private Education Institutes.

Garin said the tendency for the youth to turn away from pursuing agricultural professions was caused by the difficulty and supposedly low income associated with farming.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority show a dwindling share of agricultural employment out of the country’s total number of laborers. 

As of April 2017, agricultural workers comprised just 26.1  percent of the labor force, from a high of 32.4 percent in 2006, and 41.7 percent in 1997.

“Majority of the youth are simply not inclined to pursue a career or business opportunities in the agricultural field,” Garin said. 

“This is clearly evident in the decline in enrollment [in] agriculture-related courses in colleges and universities,” Garin said.

Garin said her measure called for the putting up of a Young Farmers Program Committee which shall be tasked to implement the provisions of the HB6227. 

Garin’s proposal provides that members of the committee will come from different government agencies such as Commission on Higher Education, National Agriculture and Fisheries Education System, Department of Agriculture, Department of Trade and Industry and Department of the Interior and Local Government.

Once enacted, this bill will also provide for support of agri-business and agri-entrepreneurship endeavors of the youth. 

These incentives should hopefully inspire the younger generations to continue the work of our hardworking farmers, Garin said.

“The government should encourage Filipino youths to take up farming to help ensure the country’s food security,” Garin pointed out.

Topics: Rep. Sharon Garin , House Bill 6277 , Young Farmers Program Act
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