Written by the Web Team
In response to the youth exodus away from agricultural communities, the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) tries to engage the youth in rice farming through its Lakbay-Palay, a biannual event showcasing the latest rice production technologies, held on April 5.
“It is high time we actively engage young people as allies in rice farming,” PhilRice executive director Eufemio T. Rasco Jr said.
Recognizing the wealth of information available in the Internet, Rasco said the youth, being tech-savvy, can very well help in accessing modern rice farming information to help their parents.
Dr. Milagros Valles, TechVoc unit head of the Bureau of Secondary Education of the Department of Education and guest speaker, supported Rasco by urging the students, “You know how to access the Internet. You text a lot, why don’t you use your access to technologies to help your parents?”
Valles also called for promoting agriculture further, making it more attractive to young people, as it has the least number of enrollees in the course offerings among TechVoc schools nationwide.
More than 400 students and teachers from Bulacan, Pampanga, and Nueva Ecija toured around the close to 100 ha experiment and seed production area of PhilRice.
They also visited the Institute’s laboratories such as the rice chemistry and food science, crop protection, biotechnology, and tissue culture laboratories. In the Rice Engineering and Mechanization Division, PhilRice engineers showcased the latest rice farm machines.
Aside from the tour around the PhilRice Central Experiment Station, the students also visited the Philippine Carabao Center, Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization, and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, all in the Science City of Muñoz.
“I think one of the reasons why agriculture is not very popular among young people is because it is not well-promoted. In doing this activity, we are informing the youth about the possible career options should they consider agriculture in college,” Jaime A. Manalo IV, senior science research specialist at PhilRice and Lakbay-Palay for the youth activity lead, said.
PhilRice has a series of ongoing projects that aim to engage youth in rice farming. Among them are the infomediary campaign to mobilize the youth to serve as infomediaries or information seekers for the farmers; and agri games development, a project to develop computer games promoting modern rice farming technologies for the out-of-school-youth farmers.