Jehanel V. Soriano, 24, has set her heart out in agriculture. She is an agricultural enterprise entrepreneur, farmer, and farm school owner.

Born and raised in llagan, City, Jehanel started as an enumerator in her alma mater, the Central Luzon State University in Nueva Ecija for five years, and as a market inspector of DA-Cagayan Valley Research Center in Isabela for a year. An agricultural business management graduate, she eventually managed their family’s agricultural supply enterprise.

Her deepened engagement in agriculture was stirred by a social media post of a fellow youth operating a farm school. This inspired her to put up her own farm school under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) – Extension Program. Her significant other, agriculture graduate Einar de Mesa, also supports her in this endeavor.

“At first, I was scared.  I didn’t have enough knowledge about rice. I was also worried about challenging farmers, but later on I realized farmers are [willing learners so they raise questions until their thirst for knowledge is satisfied]. I find them [gentle] and respectful,” Jehanel said.

She named her school, Jesla Integrated Farm, also the name of their agricultural supply enterprise in Ilagan City. Jesla is derived from Jehanel and her sisters’ names, Jessa Mae and Janela.

According to the young entrepreneur, starting a farm school is only difficult for a few weeks. Hard work was exerted on building training facility and preparing arrangements for the curriculum. After two sessions, she had already familiarized herself with the school operations, and the cooperation of the farmers also helped in making things lighter and more comfortable.

Every day, she said that she is inspired by the untiring energy of the farmers to learn and apply the new knowledge in their farms. Farmers’ main textbook in learning includes the PalayCheck primer. They are also briefed on other benefits that they can avail from the RCEF program.

Aside from operating a farm school, Jehanel and Einar also produced a Youtube channel in 2019 with over 11,000 subscribers. They recorded random videos and contents at first, but when they became more involved in the farm school, they captured their daily farm activities, which they said, is their own way of  introducing agriculture to their fellow youth.

For Jehanel and Einer, loving their work and knowing its purpose gives them fulfillment. They are a proof that age is not a basis of what one can offer in improving the agricultural sector and in helping the farmers.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is a government corporate entity attached to the Department of Agriculture created through Executive Order 1061 on 5 November 1985 (as amended) to help develop high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute