Recognizing the young entrepreneurs’ initiatives and innovations in developing worthwhile agri-based enterprises, the Department of Agriculture in Ilocos Region conducted the second batch of Young Farmers Challenge (YFC) Program in an Awarding Ceremonies today held at the DA-Regional Field Office I 5th Floor Conference Room, San Fernando City, La Union.

A DA’s pet project that started in CY 2021 initiated by the Office of Senator Imee Marcos that provides access to financial grant assistance for the youth as they venture into profitable agri-fishery based enterprises, the YFCP has a total budget allocation of P150 million for the whole duration of the program.

With the two-year implementation of the program, recipients of the project have reached to a total of 209 young farmer-entrepreneurs from the 131 proposed agri-based enterprises.

Based on DA’s record, a total of 58 enterprises initiated by the 100 young farmers in CY 2021 are now in place and now growing for an additional 73 enterprises today owned and managed by 109 young farmers.

Of this 73 enterprises for the current year (CY 2022), 34 of which are being managed by 54 young farmers belonging to Batch 1 while the 39 enterprises owned and managed by 55 young farmers are included in Batch 2.
Out of the 39 enterprises, seven have passed for national evaluation and two were adjudged as the national finalists who led the second batch’s awardees this year.

They are the young farmers from Candon City, Ilocos Sur and Badoc, Ilocos Norte with their enterprises, the MERB Biomass Briquette owned and managed by partners Bryson Vince Montero, Maria Louise Esguerra, Ellaisa Grabanzor and Rick Jayson Gamueda and the LastRun Integrated Farm and SLEY’s Delighted Bunnies owned by partners Clarence Luna and Shirley Malapira.

As National finalists, they shall be given a chance to win an additional P300,000.00 cash award for each enterprise should they be adjudged as national winner in the upcoming National Youth Summit scheduled in December 15 at the Sola Hotel in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte. This amount is in addition to their P150,000.00 and P50,000.00 cash awards as the regional and provincial awardees, respectively.

In her message during the awarding ceremonies, OIC-Regional Executive Director Annie Bares lauded the valuable efforts of the young farmer winners who were able to access the governments’ resources and opportunities leading to productive and profitable agri-based enterprises.

Expressing her support especially in providing the much needed interventions from business development, planning, product development as well as marketing assistance, Director Bares likewise noted the importance of the financial grants that the awardees will be receiving which shall serve as start-up capital to improve and develop their chosen business enterprises.

Meanwhile, of the P150 million total budget allocation for the program, the Ilocos Region has acquired 7% share equivalent to P10.59 million.