“Ito ang rason kung bakit nagbabago na ang outlook ng ating young generation sa Agriculture.” Dr. Annie Q. Bares, DA – RFO I’s OIC – Regional Executive Director.

The Department of Agriculture, through its Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service (AMAS), recognizes the 35 young farmer national finalists from different regions in the four categories of the 2022 National Young Farmers Challenge (YFC): Production, Processing, Digital Agriculture, and Supply Chain Business Solution.

The 2nd National Young Farmers Summit and Awarding Ceremony with the theme, “Mag-Agri Tayo! Ang makabagong ideya at pamamaraan ng Kabataang Magsasaka ang susi tungo sa pagpapaunlad ng pambansang agrikultura.” was held on December 15, 2022 at Sola Hotel, Laoag, Ilocos Norte.

Twelve (12) agribusinesses were chosen as Outstanding Youth Agribusiness Models from among the 35 national finalists. Six were from the Production category, with two each from the Processing, Digital Agriculture, and Supply Chain Business Solution categories. Each received a grant of Php300,000 to be used as additional funding for developing and improving their businesses.

The agribusiness models of the awardees were evaluated based on their entrepreneurial attributes, innovativeness, revenue stream, value addition, and social responsibility.

Young Farmers from Region I were among the 35 national finalists, which included the MERB Biomass Briquettes owned by partners Maria Louise Esguerra, Ellaisa Grabanzor, Rick Jayson Gamueda, and Bryson Vince Montero from Candon City, Ilocos Sur, as well as the LastRun Integrated Farm and SLEY’s Delighted Bunnies owned by partners Clarence Luna and Shirley Malapira from Badoc, Ilocos Norte.

The awarding ceremony was attended by Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew M. Manotoc, DA officials led by DA Senior Usec Domingo F. Panganiban, Assistant Secretary for Consumer Affairs and DA Spokesperson Kristine Y. Evangelista, Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service OIC-Director Junibert de Sagun, DA-RFO I OIC-Regional Executive Director Dr. Annie Q. Bares, staff from DA Central office and from different DA regional offices and the young agripreneurs.

“This initiative is a timely one and a truly effective one kasi ito rin po ang pinupush natin sa Ilocos Norte. This is what we need and of course, we cannot do this without the youth and without our young farmers.” said Gov. Manotoc in his message, highlighting the importance of going into product processing in Agribusiness in Ilocos Norte.

Undersecretary Domingo F. Panganiban stated in his message that if young and experienced farmers worked together, ideas would be put into practice, enhancing Philippine agriculture’s growth and boosting farmers’ competitiveness.

“Sa inyong lahat na kabataan, ako’y naniniwala na sa inyong kamay magsisimula ang aking sinasabing pagbabago”, USEC Panganiban added.
Meanwhile, Dr. Bares also thanked the young agripreneurs for having the bravery to embrace agriculture as a stepping stone to making a difference in the world and for enabling DA to be a part of their journey to become young agripreneurs.

Sen. Imee Marcos’ message, read by ASEC Evangelista, expressed optimism that the YFC program will inspire more young Filipinos to become agricultural entrepreneurs, and use modern equipment and digital technology to increase their yield and income.

Also present in the event were the YFC 2022 National Panel of Judges and Coaches, Mr. Joshua Aragon, founder/CEO of Zagana.com, Dr. Ramon C. Yedra, former Deputy Executive Director of ACPC, Ms. Alwyn Joy Rosel, Head of QBO Innovation Hub’s Startup Development Program, UPLB Assistant Professor Renen De Guzman, and SOPHIL President Engr. Jaydrick Yap.

The Young Farmers Challenge (YFC) program started in 2021 by the DA’s Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service (DA-AMAS) through the initiative of Senator Imee Marcos which is aimed at encouraging the youth to engage in agri-fishery enterprises on a sustained basis to showcase its viability as a primary source of income comparable to employment in industry and service sectors.

Engaging the youth in agriculture, particularly in agriculture-related enterprises, will help contribute to food security goals, and could transform old business practices through innovations and the use of digital technology that will click especially in the domestic and worldwide markets.