Agriculture Secretary William Dar said agriculture offers today’s young generation a chance to make a difference by growing enough food to feed not only the hungry in the Philippines, but also in other countries.
Speaking to members of various youth organizations and individuals, Dar emphasized that youth involvement is critical in the current state of the agriculture sector to attain a food-secure nation with lesser hungry people and families.
“For many years now, the barriers to agricultural progress have been low productivity and dire lack of value-adding rural enterprises. These two obstacles have resulted in the erratic growth of the sector over the past 10 years,” the agriculture chief said during the virtual 3rd Consumer Youth E-Forum, organized by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
“Youth engagement in agriculture is one of the key strategies we are implementing under our ‘OneDA Reform Agenda’.”
“Youth engagement in agriculture is one of the key strategies we are implementing under our ‘OneDA Reform Agenda.’ We recognize that young Filipinos have the most to gain from our future-oriented development agenda. That is why we have invested in key programs to attract the skills, talents, and vigor of the Filipino youth into agriculture and agribusiness,” the agriculture head stressed.
“The youth has the advantage of guts and idealism. You don’t censor seemingly crazy ideas with the cynicism experience has taught some baby boomers,” he added.
The “OneDA Reform Agenda” was designed to transform Philippine agriculture into a dynamic, high-growth sector that promotes investments and inclusive growth, Dar said.
To further improve the younger generation’s access to farming, the Duterte administration extends technical, livelihood, marketing, and financial support, and offers more opportunities through the “OneDA Family,” he added.
“Our nation is in need of talented young public servants and leaders.”
“As Secretary of Agriculture, I am committed to providing opportunities for the youth to ensure they would not only become the leaders of tomorrow, but also as agents of change, reform, and agricultural modernization. Our nation is in need of talented young public servants and leaders—especially in the field of agribusiness and food security,” Dar said.
The Philippines today has the largest generation of young people in its history. Thirty million young people between the ages of 10 and 24 account for 28 percent (%) of the population, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.
For her part, DTI Undersecretary Ruth Castelo, who also spoke during the virtual forum, said that “it is high time to strengthen the value network and inclusivity for the youth in terms of food security and sustainability”.
Castelo cited the latest survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations, from June 23 to 26, 2021, that 13.6% or an estimated 3.4 million families experienced involuntary hunger, that is, hunger due to lack of food to eat at least once in the past three months.
“The upcoming generation of farmers has the opportunity to be the generation that will end world hunger and alleviate malnutrition, as well as help the sector adapt to climate change,” Dar concluded.