DA seeks 900 OJT’s to help implement agri programs nationwide

Published April 25, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

The Department of Agriculture (DA) is eyeing the participation of around 900 on-the-job trainees to assist in the implementation of agriculture programs in each congressional district nationwide.

Department of Agriculture Secretary William Dar (Department of Agriculture - Philippines / FACEBOOK / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Department of Agriculture Secretary William Dar (Department of Agriculture – Philippines / FACEBOOK / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

“We need young blood in agriculture. They have the defining attributes when it comes to utilizing modern agriculture. They are well connected through electronic devices that can help modernize farming and fishing activities,” DA Secretary William Dar said.

The DA chief said an initial P100-million fund will be allotted to lure millennials and expedite the initiative.

“Our millennials will be tapped as on-the-job trainees or OJTs for about six months, given an attractive allowance, and later we will urge them to get employed and detailed at each congressional district under the DA-Agricultural Program Coordinating Offices (APCOs),” Dar explained.

Each province has a DA-APCO that coordinates with local government units (LGUs) in the implementation of agricultural banner programs, namely rice, corn, high-value crops, livestock (small and large ruminants), and poultry.

It is tasked to make recommendations and conduct monitoring services to ensure that DA’s national and regional policies and programs are effectively and efficiently cascaded at the local level.

“Under the mentorship of APCOs, the millennial OJTs will also serve as ‘infomediaries’ or information providers of various DA programs to farmers and rural folk using information and communication technologies (ICTs). Eventually, when their OJT stint is over, we will ask them to develop their respective agri-fishery business plan to be pursued as a project in their own localities,” Dar said.

He added that “by engaging the youth as infomediaries we will be able to widen their mindset for farming to be more progressive.”

Dar has been advocating for the engagement of the youth in the agriculture sector, but he is also not foregoing the crucial contributions of the experienced farmers whose wisdom and knowledge have been accumulated over generations.

“”The youth may be ICT-savvy, but they still need the elders to pass their time-tested wisdom and experience in farming. That is why mentorship is also crucial in this endeavor,” Dar said.

KAYA Program

The initiative is tied up with the DA’s Kapital Access for Young Agripreneurs (KAYA), a loan program launched in January 2020 to entice young Filipinos to engage in farming and fishery ventures and agribusiness and food processing enterprises.

Under the management of the DA-Agricultural Credit Policy Council, the KAYA financing program, with a total funding of P1 billion, lends P300,000 to P500,000 to each borrower, payable in five years at zero interest.

Interested individuals ages 18-30 years old should present a business plan for review and assessment. Once validated and approved, the DA-ACPC will assign a mentor to assist the borrower.