The Department of Agriculture aims to lure the younger generation into farming by embarking on a technological transformation program aiming at an Agriculture 4.0 that will digitalize the country’s agriculture and fishery sector.
For the country’s farmers, whose average ranges from 57 to 60 years old, retirement is a looming possibility that could lead to a serious decline in the 10-million farmer workforce that feeds the country.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar wants to engage the youth to sustain our progress towards a fully food-secure nation.
“We wish to see young Filipino farmers and agripreneurs to help Philippine agriculture shift from traditional farming to a modern, industrialized and competitive sector that employs innovative approaches and modern technologies,” Dar said. He envisions smart farms being built with technology and bring dignity and prosperity to farming, enticing more people into agriculture.
Agriculture 4.0 aims to embrace opportunities for the Fourth Industrial Revolution that employs modern technologies like hydroponics, genetic modification, block chain, drones, powerful data analytics, and nanotechnology to increase and sustain food productivity, quality and incomes of producers.
Making farming attractive for an entire generation is the correct path to take but given how agriculture was ignored by government, even until now, that will be a significant challenge for the Department of Agriculture. However, it is a program that has to be started as soon as possible if we are going to securing the future of farming and eventually ensure our food security.
A program that combines the best our country has to offer, starting with the vast knowledge of today’s aging farmers, with the ingenuity of millennials, and our country’s fertile croplands; if successfully done, can revive the agriculture and fishery sectors that have been stagnating or even regressing for too long.