TO GO OR NOT TO GO – Third Placer, ROLEx Essay Writing Contest, February 25,2018, UNO-Recoletos, Bacolod City

This is her first thought when someone asked her to join an agricultural forum on vegetable production. She used to make her living from other’s people garbage. She once lived in a garbage dump area in Payatas. From scavenging trash, she didn’t expect that she would venture in the field of agriculture.

As millennials, the perspective of the youth toward agriculture is not as good compared to their outlook on social trends and pop culture. The youth nowadays think that being a farmer is a ‘dirty’ job.

We all know that a farmer is one of the most useful person in the world – since the beginning of civilization. We depend on agriculture to provide us our basic needs like food and other necessities. We got our food because the farmers grow their crops and distribute them to us through agricultural activities.

People in developing countries who depend on agriculture for their living are always much poorer than those who work in other sectors of the economy. And generally, these people always represent a significant share in the total number of poor families in the countries where they live. Though these people feed their humanity, their life conditions are very far from satisfactory. Thus, there is a need to improve the agricultural sector to encourage the youth into agribusiness. But why do we need a transition toward agricultural development? What is the deal behind a better agricultural status?

First, agriculture takes development to rural areas. When agriculture becomes a reliable source of income for rural communities, they can now embrace their own development because agriculture is no longer limited to production alone but the people from rural communities can be secured by entrepreneurship.

Agriculture can lead to poverty reduction. The agriculture sector comprises a huge number of Filipino workers – many of them fall below the poverty line because the government fails to fully support and finance them. When our government change their way of living by way of improving their income, we can surely combat the increasing rate of poverty in our country.

Not only that, agriculture can reduce hunger as it ensures food security of developing countries like the Philippines. The drive toward security of production of our food has seemed to slow down in our recent years. Food security is an immediate and future main concern of developing countries, most especially agricultural countries like ours. Now, if we improve the lives of our farmers and agriculturists, we can secure the future of our production.

And lastly, agriculture is the key to unlock economic self-sufficiency. Agriculture is known as the backbone of developing countries. Other sectors of the economy depend on agriculture to provide them raw materials for production. If our agricultural sector produces high-quality materials, there is no need for us to import these materials from foreign countries which is not cost effective sometimes. Hence, improving our agricultural sector will lead to our country’s economic progress.

The problem that our agricultural sector is facing now is this: as the average farmer now nears the mandatory retirement of age 60, there is a growing concern that our country will not be able to secure food production. Our farmers don’t have enough knowledge on agribusiness. If they don’t know how to do business and investing, they will remain abused and poor. It is an immediate response for our government to improve the foundations of our farmers’ knowledge on agribusiness.

The only solution is getting the youth into agribusiness. We should be empowered to contribute our agricultural sector simply because we are the future workforce of our country. We should remove the stigma that agriculture is a “dirty job”.

But we cannot deny the fact that some of the youth have no access to agribusiness section. Some of them live in far-flung areas in which they cannot acquire such education. But with the help of online platforms, the youth can finally have the opportunity to have this education where they can contribute to our degrading agricultural sector.

If there will be enough agripreneurs to make agribusiness work, farming can actually work. We should empower and encourage the youth to go into agribusiness education because they are the future of our country. Youth should be provided with school programs and curricula that will promote agribusiness. Youth, especially in rural communities must acquire the basic knowledge and skills that will develop and hone them to become young agripreneurs. Let us not wait for the time that our farmers will give up on us. It is time to rethink that we could actually help them, even in small ways.

Moreover, Philippine agriculture can now fully explore the multitude of new market opportunities by creating partnerships and linkages with local and foreign communities with the help of online technology. This can be done by entailing the acquiring of farming techniques, creating stable supply chains, establishing transport and agricultural infrastructure, investing in research and development and securing reliable property rights.

With the help of the online world, our agricultural sector will have the means to inform our agriculturists about the best and foreign opportunities while developing strategies to combat potential domestic production problems.

Through the help of advanced technology, our country can now diversify and contribute to help lessen the problems and issues our agricultural sector is facing. Further, we can acquire a better outlook on ‘Green Revolution’ thorugh studying sustainable agriculture which is essential for a clean and green environment.

Daisy Duran, after being recruited for a forum on vegetable production, started her own ‘farm’ with a few square meters of land that used to be the school’s dump area. Today, she is known as the ‘seedlings queen of Bulacan’ and she is continuing the legacy that she started. What is truly amazing about the story of Daisy Duran is that with people like her around, they will change the face of agriculture and will serve as an inspiration to the youth that indeed there is a future career that lies in agribusiness education. Like Daisy Duran, each of us can start our own Green Revolution.

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