Professor Julian O. Cumad, the resident soil science specialist of Cebu Technological University Tuburan Campus College of Agriculture won Php150,000 from the Department of Agriculture-Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division for the regional competition, Young Farmers
Challenge 2021. The awarding ceremony was held on the 28th of February 2022 in Cebu City.
Recipients of the same award were Ronald Paron, 26 years old from Canlaon, Negros Oriental, and Florencio Quintinita Jr., 26 years old from Malabuyoc, Cebu.
Mr. Cumad detailed his proposal on how he would use the prize to improve his individual agricultural endeavor in a video production prepared by the Regional Agricultural Fisheries and Information Section. According to Mr. Cumad, “The award proceeds that I received from the hosting agency (DA) were used to further develop my farm because it has already been established before the grant was actually released. The enhancement made on my enterprise include the installation of the drip irrigation system (an artificial irrigation that helps lessen the manpower requirement to operate the farm, especially in periods of long dry conditions (no rain).”
He further said that portions of the amount were used for the recovery efforts done to revive the operation that has been the affected by the Super Typhoon #OdettePh. Mr. Cumad also described that it was also beneficial in repairing their damaged nursery shed and destructed farm structures.
What was left of the amount was set aside for plans and ways forward.
The focal of the Young Farmers Challenge Kabataang Agribiz Competition, Ligaya Ebarita, mentioned that during the national awarding in Manila from the previous year, the DA Secretary already institutionalized the contest. Ebarite further said to have an inclusion of 35 groups composed of two young farmers, 40 individual competitors, or a total of 75 winners at the provincial level, and 7 winners instead of just three at the regional level as an enhancement of the program in 2022.
Meanwhile, the challenge even has its second round which was anticipated to commence this month, March 2022 if there will be no changes for the set schedule. Mr. Cumad motivated young farmers to participate, and they should begin planning as soon as possible, such as deciding what type of agribusiness they want to venture in.
In an online interview, Mr. Cumad mentioned, “It is an advantage on their part if they are prepared before actually subjecting themselves to the competition. They must have a try, because nothing will happen in not trying. They must take part in keeping the very culture of the Filipinos. The
culture that feeds the billions of population- agriculture.”
This provided a platform for young farmers to learn more about their fields, particularly in terms of business investment by generating their ideas as well. Since there is an insufficiency of young farmers in the Philippines, Young Farmers Challenge aims to address this problem by initiating to institutionalize the said program. This serves as an innovative strategy that capacitate and encourage them as new breed of heroes to contribute to the development of the agricultural sector.-Shamma Momo/ICPA Tuburan