To increase youth engagement in agriculture, Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) in Midsayap boosts its partnership with the academe sector in Soccsksargen.
In a recent Lakbay Palay with the University of Southern Mindanao (USM) in Kabacan and Sultan Kudarat State University (SKSU), a forum was conducted to 11 public schools in Cotabato and Sarangani.
USM main campus in Kabacan, North Cotabato posted an average of 29% decline on BS Agriculture enrollment rate in 2016-2018 while SKSU reported a 13.5% drop in all agri-related programs across its five campuses from 2017 to 2018.
Joseph O. Castillo, USM college instructor, presented the career opportunities for agriculture graduates such as soil scientist, plant breeder, farm machine expert, crop protection specialist, rice chemist, animal nutritionist, communication expert, and development worker.
Meanwhile, Dr. Pernelyn S. Torreña, Misayap officer-in-charge, said the station will also set up a school-based rice information shop in selected high school libraries offering agriculture subjects.
“These learning corners in school libraries will not only increase access on rice information, but will also help students form a better perspective on agriculture and its prospects,” she said.
Moreover, the station offers internship program for agriculture college students, in which the interns experience research data gathering and experiment analysis for one to two months. The students will also be immersed on the station’s extension work.
The station also implements rice boot camp, a week-long training program on different rice and rice-based technologies for agriculture fresh graduates. This includes discussion, laboratory activities, and field work.
Some of the interns and boot camp graduates are employed at the station after their graduation.