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The DA-ATI has launched a mentorship program for agribusiness owners.

BAGUIO CITY, PHILIPPINES — With the help of the Trade Department, the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) training arm, has launched the Kapatid Agri Mentor Me Program (KAMMP) in Cordillera to maximize the capabilities and increase the success rate of young people engaged in agri-entrepreneurship.

The ATI has scheduled its KAMMP for young farmers aged 18 to 30 years old, according to Ryan Palunan, head of the Regional Agriculture and Fishes Council (RAFC) of its Cordillera chapter.

The sessions will last six weeks, from June 20 to June 24, 2022, according to him. Although the number of spaces is limited, the institute aims to host similar events in the future.

Through mentorship, the KAMMP aspires to nurture and sustain agribusiness throughout the country. Mentors from the industry provide direction and help to participants by sharing what they’ve learned from their own experiences.

The 25-year-old farmer urged those interested in agri-entrepreneurship to take advantage of government initiatives aimed at encouraging young people to get involved in agriculture.

Palunan has a backyard garden at their home in Baguio City’s Happy Hollow Barangay and was one of the provincial champions of the Young Farmers Challenge (YFC) in 2021.

“It is best to be properly guided so that we will succeed and be further encouraged to stay in agriculture,” he said. “Agriculture is not just about tilling the soil; it also involves processing and marketing, and it is best to be properly guided so that we will succeed and be further encouraged to stay in agriculture.”

He added that the DA has also announced the YFC-2 for 2022, a Senator Imee Marcos program to encourage young people to pursue careers in agriculture.

The YFC encourages participants to submit a project plan focusing on any aspect of agriculture, from production to processing to marketing. The feasibility study’s viability will be evaluated. Provincial champions will receive PHP50,000, while regional and national winners will receive PHP150,000 and PHP300,000, respectively.

“When you become national, that means you’ve received PHP500,000 as a capital, not a grant, but an award for your idea,” he explained.

He went on to say that having capital in a firm is one thing, but being able to use it to keep your business afloat in the face of fierce competition is quite another. “The DA’s Mentor Me Program will be quite beneficial, particularly to a young individual who is just getting started in agriculture,” Palunan remarked.

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