Jett Molech Subaba, the concept creator of the Youth for Mechanization and supervising science research specialist of the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech) has its Youth for Mechanization (Y4M) program to attract more young people into agriculture.

The Y4M, an advocacy campaign program that also aims to rebrand the image of agriculture among the youth through mechanization, was featured during the 2nd youth in Agriculture Summit in Diliman, Quezon City on April 21, 2022 that was led by Agriculture Undersecretary for Special Concerns Waldo Carpio.

Live-streamed on the official Facebook page of the Department of Agriculture and Webex, the summit with the theme “Spark, Encourage, Engage the youth to Develop new leaders for Agriculture” was attended by almost 2,000 participants.

During the summit’s second plenary session on professionalization, Dr. Dionisio Alvindia, PHilMech Director with the rank of Scientist IV, inspired the audience with his experiences as a farmer-turned-agricultural scientist.

Alvindia, also the program director of the Philippine Integrated Rice Program of the Department of Agriculture, shared that during his childhood, plant diseases — especially on rice — greatly influenced him to embark on the scientific career system.

He also expressed support for the Y4M advocacy campaign, which also aims to engage and enlist the youth into farming by getting them directly or indirectly involved in the current mechanization drive of PHilMech under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF)-Mechanization Program and related programs or projects.

Jett Molech Subaba, concept creator of Y4M and supervising science research specialist of the PHilMech-Applied Communication Division, said aging farmers are one of the pressing issues in the field of agriculture today.

He cited a University of the Philippines Los Baños study showing that the average age of farmers is 53 years old.

If this continues, our farmers will become scarce, and our food security will be at stake. Thus, our [Y4M] advocacy campaign for the youth was conceptualized,” Subaba said.

According to PHilMech, the Y4M is the agency’s first advocacy campaign to bring back the interest of the youth in agriculture. It will also highlight the advantages of using modern technologies, making farming easy, efficient, fun and promising in terms of profit and productivity, it added.  (Leander C. Domingo, The Manila Times)