FutureRice program has proposed solutions to these problems, with the use of high-tech smart farming combined with natural farming and alternative energy to be integrated in its model farm. The FutureRice model farm will showcase technologies and practices that can improve the conditions of farming communities and protect the rice environment.

Youth and farmers are expected to learn about high-tech smart farming combined with natural farming and alternative energy at the Lakbay-Palay of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, Oct.1-3.

FutureRice, a PhilRice program, showcases modern technologies that may help in coping with climate change, environmental degradation, and peak oil crisis.

“[Like the farmers, youth must learn about these modern technologies to engage them]. If there will be fewer young people who will be interested to pursue careers in agriculture and related disciplines, then this could definitely aggravate food insecurity in the Philippines,” Dr. Maria Luisa Soliven, president of the Central Mindanao University told the  Manila Times.

Meanwhile, PhilRice executive director Eufemio Rasco Jr  recognized that fewer youth engaged in agriculture poses threat to the country’s food security situation.

Numerous studies show the decreasing number of youth engaged in agriculture.

A study conducted by PhilMech and UPLB  warned that there would be a shortage of farm labor in the future if the agriculture sector does not get new young farmers.

The study said “imminent crisis on labor is inevitable, as most of the active farmers will grow old and no longer fit to work in the farms while the succeeding generations of farming are diminishing”.

“If these problems are not addressed through the cooperation of government agencies and international institutions, Asia’s food security situation will be threatened, especially if we take into account the fact that climate change poses another serious challenge to farmers in the region,” SEARCA Director Gil Saguiguit Jr said.

The study of PhilRice and International Rice Research Institute on Benchmarking Philippine Rice Economy Relative to Major Rice-Producing Countries in Asia showed that the average of rice farmers in Nueva Ecija is 58.

With Edilberto de Luna, assistant secretary for Operations and DA National Rice and Corn Program coordinator as the keynote speaker, the two-day activity is a biannual event featuring technologies such as ecological engineering, vermicomposting, Palayamanan, azolla production, and farm machinery.

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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