MANILA — A leader of the House of Representatives is pushing for a measure seeking to institutionalize the young farmers program to encourage the youth in pursuing agricultural professions.
Deputy Speaker Sharon Garin filed House Bill 6277 or the Young Farmers Program Act, which seeks to provide an institutionalized scholarship program for agriculture and fisheries courses in State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), as well as private education institutions.
Garin cited a recent study by the STI Education Services Group stating the average age of farmers in the Philippines is 57 years old.
Garin further cited Philippine Statistics Authority data in April 2017 showing a dwindling share of agricultural employment comprising just 26.1 percent of the total labor force compared to a high of 32.4 percent in 2006 and 41.7 percent in 1997.
“Majority of the youth are simply not inclined to pursue a career or business opportunities in the agricultural field. This is clearly evident in the decline in enrollment of agriculture-related courses in colleges and universities,” Garin said in her explanatory note.
The bill mandates the creation of a Young Farmers Program Committee tasked to implement the provisions of the proposed law.
The said committee shall be composed of representatives from the Commission on Higher Education, National Agriculture and Fisheries Education System, Department of Agriculture, Department of Trade and Industry and Department of Interior and Local Government.
The bill also provides for support of agri-business and agri-entrepreneurship endeavors of the youth as incentives for younger generations to continue the work of the country’s farmers.
“The government should encourage Filipino youths to take up farming to help ensure the country’s food security,” Garin said.