'Techie', young entrepreneurs to lead way toward food security amid pandemic–Dar

Published August 20, 2021, 3:19 PM

by Betheena Unite

The Philippines is banking on techology-savvy, young agripreneurs in the regional effort to advance food security undertakings amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

FARMERS GO DIGITAL–A farmer-youth tandem completes the hands-on activity on smartphone familiarization under the Digital Farmers Program training conducted by Agricultural Training Institute Region 2. (Photo courtesy of the ATI-Region 2)

Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar signed in behalf of the Philippine government a commitment to advance digitalization, innovation, productivity, inclusivity, and sustainability on the way toward food security during the current pandemic.

The signing was made during the virtual 2021 APEC Food Security Ministerial Meeting held on Aug. 19 with 20 other members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

During his speech, Dar said the DA was keeping a close watch on trends and technological developments in the global food production ecosystem as it strived to bring agriculture advocacy and education to the next generation.

He particularly pointed to the country’s growing base of youthful agripreneurs, who are using social media as their most cost-effective marketing tool.

“Swift catching up has been done the past couple of years. The young population of the Philippines is not about to miss out on lending their savvy for technology to one of the most vaunted sectors inducting economic recovery,” he said.

“This young, skilled cohort is being empowered by access to credit, further education and training in agri-fishery, and ready markets through our banner marketing programs. This new generation of agripreneurs are the vectors of digital culture,” he added.

The APEC ministers also issued an annex to their statement–a 10-year food security roadmap that details goals and key action areas where the 21-member assembly is well-placed to help ensure that its peoples always have access to sufficient, safe, affordable, and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.

The APEC Food Security Roadmap Toward 2030 also promotes the inclusion of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), women, youth, indigenous communities, and the elderly in the sector as integral to maximizing resources, improving rural, remote, and coastal livelihoods, and unlocking the full potential of the APEC region.

“As we look to rebuild from the pandemic, we must adapt to change in a way that supports our MSMEs, such as small-scale producers in the food, agriculture, and fisheries sectors. We are determined to leave no one behind,” the APEC ministers said in their statement.

Launched in November 2020, the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040 is a pledge made by the senior ministers that the world’s most dynamic regional economies will cooperate toward building an open, dynamic, resilient, and peaceful Asia-Pacific. Under it, the member-countries will continue to work together to deliver a free, open, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent, and predictable trade and investment environment.