By Billy Begas
Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte together with two other lawmakers filed a measure seeking to incentivize young Filipinos to pursue careers in the field of agriculture.
“We need young Filipinos who are exposed to today’s technologies to consider agriculture as a viable career. The youth’s innovative spirit, their enthusiasm to change the way we think or do things is what we need right now to reinvigorate our agriculture sector,” Duterte said.
In the proposed Free Tertiary Agricultural Education Act (House Bill 7572), Duterte, Benguet Rep. Eric Yap, and ACT-CIS party-list Edvic Yap expressed their belief that providing farmers’ children the educational support they need will encourage them to pursue agriculture and other related courses.
Duterte said the youth should be made aware that agriculture courses do not only involve farming, but also cover degrees in agricultural and biosystems engineering, agribusiness management, agricultural biotechnology, agricultural economics, and fisheries technology, among others.
Under the measure, incentives or subsidies including living and transportation allowance will be provided to qualified beneficiaries who will enroll in agriculture courses and other related fields of study in state universities and colleges (SUCs).
To be qualified, the student should be a child of a farmer actually engaged in crop production, livestock, and poultry farming, and registered with the Department of Agriculture (DA).
The authors cited the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data showing the decline of employment in the agriculture sector.
From 24.5% (9.7 million) in October 2020 and 24.6% (10.77 million) in October 2021, the PSA reported that the share of the total employment of the agriculture sector declined to 22.5% (10.6 million) in October 2022.
The PSA also reported that in terms of skilled agricultural, forestry, and fishery workers, the numbers continue to drop from 14.2% (5.7 million) in October 2020 and 12.4% (5.4 million) in October 2021 to 11.8% (5.6 million) in October of last year.