The average Filipino farmer’s age is 57, which means that we might have a shortage of farmers (and produce) in a couple of years. But despite this worrying news, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has initiated numerous programs to encourage the public, especially the younger generation, to get into farming.
At the 2018 F&B Report Summit, former DA Undersecretary for Agribusiness and Marketing, Agriculture, and Gender and Development Berna Romulo-Puyat believes that the best way to encourage the youth is through an active participation in the agricultural programs of the government and educational institutions. One of these is the annual Coffee Youth Camp where children of farmers or anyone interested in coffee will be provided necessary knowledge on coffee production to expose them to career and livelihood opportunities.
“It’s making agriculture fun and making them meet farmers and producers. We also encourage students who want to get into agriculture to experience farming; not just learn it in the classroom but to visit farms, talk, plant, and harvest with the farmers; do what they are doing so they appreciate it more,” Romulo-Puyat says. The DA also has several market events where interested producers and farmers can sell their goods directly to consumers without going through middlemen. Having experienced all of these herself, Romulo-Puyat realized that only through experiencing first-hand farming can Filipinos truly value farmers and the food on the table.
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