Neda to academe: Make agri courses attractive
Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman) - May 4, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA-7) is urging colleges and universities to improve their course offerings on agriculture-related programs and make them attractive to the young generation.

At the back of weak agricultural production in the region due to several factors such as climate change, the concern of ageing farmers is also a huge threat to the region’s agricultural sector, said NEDA-7 regional director Efren Carreon.

“The interest to enroll in agri-related course is declining over time. The challenge also is how to make this [profession] economically attractive,” said Carreon.  With the push of the government to exploit the agricultural wealth of the Philippines, universities and colleges are called to offer programs in modern farming, which includes mechanization, technology providing more professional farmers.

According to Carreon, the thrust of the national government now is moving towards mechanization, particularly under the rice tariffication law.

“Under the rice tariffication law, part of the income or 30 percent would go to mechanization,” Carreon explained reiterating that mechanization can help solve our problem in agriculture.

“We are pushing the state universities and colleges review their course curriculum that has IT applications so that this type of profession will become attractive to younger generation,” he noted.

Meanwhile, the Congress created the scholarship program in order to produce “quality and competitive graduates nationwide” that will help the country’s agricultural sector.

The program was meant to assist undergraduate, post-secondary, and returning students enrolled in agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and veterinary medicine courses in select state universities and colleges, technical-vocational schools, and accredited private higher education institutions.

Under DA’s Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF), high school students or graduates can now submit their application forms through the Regional Scholarship Coordinators, State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) or Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).

In reference to RA 10848 or the ACEF Extension Law, this ACEF Grants-In-Aid for Higher Education Program (ACEF-GIAHEP) directs the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to implement a comprehensive and attractive scholarship program for agriculture, forestry, fisheries and veterinary medicine education.

Despite this, Carreon said educational institutions should make their agri courses attractive to produce young farmers in the country.

In an earlier interview with Salazar Colleges of Science and Institute and Technology (SCSIT) (formerly Salazar Institute of Technology) president Alden F. Salazar, he said that is ramping up its offerings in agriculture including construction.

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