The Department of Agriculture in Ilocos Region conducted a two-day summit and regional awarding ceremonies of the Young Farmers Challenge Program.

Held at the DA-RFO I’s 5th Floor Conference Room on October 19-20, 2023, the YFC Summit and Awarding Ceremonies recognized the 11 vibrant and active young farmers in the region with their proposed agri-based enterprises evaluated and scrutinized by the technical working group of the program and panel of the Board of Judges from the academe, the DA and farming advocate and practitioners.

Leading this year’s awardees is a lass from Bacnotan La Union Ms. Geneva S. GaΓ±alon, owner and manager of G’s Duckery, an enterprise concentrated on the production and processing of duck meat.

From the three categories of the Young Farmers Challenge, namely: YFC Start-up, YFC Scale-up and YFC Intercollegiate, Ms. GaΓ±alon emerged as top 1 winner under the YFC Scale-up category along with the couple Mr. and Mrs Frederick Uyaan of the Vel Seirra Integrated Farm and Mr. Mergene Ferrer of the Kahit Munti Integrated Farm from Bacnotan, La Union and Mapandan, Pangasinan, respectively.

As winners, they brought home a plaque of recognition and cash awards in the amount of P300,000 which shall be credited in their respective ATMs to further finance their existing agri-based enterprises.

Under the Start-up Category, seven (7) new enterprises also passed the requirements of the program and emerged as winners and were also given a plaque of recognition and a cash prize in the amount of P150,000.

Of the seven winners, three enterprises came from the province of Ilocos Norte, two from Pangasinan and one each from the provinces of Ilocos Sur and La Union.

The YFC Intercollegiate Awardees came from the students of the Mariano Marcos State University in Batac City, Ilocos Norte whose enterprise is the CUP-SD in Nagbacalan, Paoay, Ilocos Norte.

The YFC Program is an annual activity of the DA through the Agribusiness Marketing Assistance Division that aims to provide access to financial grant assistance for the youth as they venture into profitable agri-fishery based enterprises. To sustain their operations, these enterprises are being assessed and monitored every year and are recognized as DA’s partner in pushing for more developmental and innovative projects in the agri-sector.

A DA’s pet project that started in CY 2021 initiated by the Office of Senator Imee R. Marcos, the YFC Program provided an opportunity for the youth to realize their full potential to innovate towards becoming successful agri-based business owners through the support that the program provides.

In the two-year implementation of the program, recipients of the project have reached to a total of 245 young farmer-entrepreneurs managing around 158 enterprises.

Joining the awarding ceremony is no less than La Union Governor Raphaelle Veronica Ortega-David who inspired the awardees with her personal journey as a young leader who have excelled in her chosen field of leading the province.

β€œPatunayan natin sa ating mga ginagawa na tayong mga kabataan ay talagang pag-asa ng bayan. We can make a difference, we are innovative and can contribute to the needed change in our society. Break the barriers,” she encouraged.