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New generation farmers rise with DA’s Young Farmers Challenge Program

Hundreds of young farmers from the different parts of the country convened for the Department of Agriculture (DA) Young Farmers Challenge (YFC) Program 2024 Kick-off and 2023 National Awarding Ceremony held at DA-Philippine Rice Research Institute in the Science City of Muñoz on June 6, 2024.

“Today’s agricultural society has unveiled the positive outcomes and benefits brought forth by our new generation. To this batch of YFC Awardees, establishing a business is one of the hardest things to do. Yet, you remain patient and tenacious throughout your journey in generating new products, services, production processes, and organizational methods for the development of your endeavors,” DA Undersecretary for High Value Crops Cheryl Marie Natividad-Caballero said on behalf of Agriculture Secretary Francisco P. Tiu Laurel, Jr.

The YFC Program, initiated by the Office of Senator Imee Marcos and spearheaded by the DA-Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service (AMAS), is a competitive financial grant assistance program for 18–30-year old Filipinos who are interested to engage in new agri-fishery enterprises.

“Sa pakiwari ko ang mga batang magsasaka ang siyang good news ng agriculture. Huwag tayong mawalan ng pag-asa. Meron pa ring mga kabataang ninanais manatiling mga magbubukid at mangingisda at processor at iba-iba pang mga negosyante hinggil sa ating agrikultura. I think we actually started (this program) because the average age of the farmers today is about 58 years old,” Senator Marcos said.

During the event, Senator Marcos, Undersecretary Natividad-Caballero, and DA-AMAS Director Junibert De Sagun led the awarding of cash grants amounting to a total of P6.1 million to the winning enterprises of young agri-preneurs.

The following top 12 national awardees under the YFC Start-Up Component received P300,000 cash grant:

• John Arex Ocampo for the “KWAKTUTUBO” Kilusang Wais sa Agrikultura at Kaalaman Kasama ang mga Katutubo

• Andrea Naraja for Andrea’s Quail Farm & Hatchery

• John Carlo Abedoza for SirJuan Agriventure: New Generation’s Philippine Native Chicken Raising

• Leon Vincent Paraguya for Wagling Cattle Enterprise

• Cilfred Ramos and Harry Luces for their