To help prevent the imminent food shortage due to the aging of farmers, the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and two clubs of Kiwanis International are intensifying efforts to revitalize agriculture through youth education.
Citing an information from the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture, Glenda Hufano, governor of Kiwanis International-Philippine Luzon District, said that with the typical age of Filipino farmers falling between 55 and 59 years old, experts have forecasted that the Philippines will confront a critical decline of farmers in 10-12 years.
“The project we are collaborating on aims to educate children not only about rice but also to raise them to be progressive, entrepreneurial food producers,” she said during the signing of the memorandum of agreement in Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, Nov. 7.
Based on the agreement, the Kiwanis Club of Pasay and Rice Granary Science City of Muñoz will establish and maintain a campsite at the FutureRice Farm in Nueva Ecija.
“This campsite, called SPARK, will provide an engaging, educational alternative to malls and digital entertainment. Campers can try farm adventure games such as kayaking and obstacle races while learning about rice technologies including farm machines, digital apps, and renewable energy,” Hufano said.
In the FutureRice Farm, campers will see high-yielding rice varieties and experience farm automation and diversified farming.
Kiwanis International will also co-sponsor the annual ceremonial harvesting at the Rice Garden in Rizal Park, which was established for urban dwellers, especially the youth, to appreciate the importance of rice to the country’s culture, nourishment, and economy.
This partnership builds upon earlier initiatives between Kiwanis International Philippine Luzon District and PhilRice supporting farming communities of the Rice Business Innovation System (RiceBIS) Program.