23 Young Farmers Complete 11-Month Training in Japan, Prepare for Startup Agribusiness

Tue, 02/27/2024 - 17:05

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DILIMAN, Quezon City Another group of young farmers recently returned to the country after completing their 11-month training in Japan. The group, composed of 23 young farmers from the different provinces in the Philippines, participated in the Young Filipino Farm Leaders Training Program in Japan (YFFLTPJ) organized by the Department of Agriculture (DA) through the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) and Japan Agricultural Exchange Council (JAEC).

ATI Director Remelyn R. Recoter welcomed the participants and enjoined them to consider their experience as a milestone in their lives and pursue their role as farm leaders to help advance the agricultural sector in the country. She urged the participants to share and apply their learnings in their respective communities and farm.

The participants attended the Post Training Evaluation and Re-entry Planning Session as part of their requirements to complete the program. The activity served as a venue for knowledge sharing, reflective activities, and assessment of challenges encountered by the young farmers during their immersion in Japan as International Exchange Program participants.

Selected alumni of the program presented their farming experiences and agriventures upon completing the program. Alex Aborita of YFFLTPJ Batch 1997 shared that his established farm now served as a farm school for the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, showcasing a farm-to-table concept. Lope Bautista of YFFLTPJ Batch 1994 ventured in a farm business offering “Perr-res” lemon concentrate with various varieties such as honey lemon concentrate, lemon blue ternate concentrate, among others, which he is now exporting to the United States.

Another highlight of the three-day activity was the business networking opportunities presented by the different Japanese institutions for possible areas of partnerships with the graduates.

Mitsuru Obuchi, Vice President of Greenstar Produce Philippines, Inc., presented his company’s products and services, while Shingo Yamaguchi, CEO of 5Dots, presented the agri-tech platform with simplified supply chain as their main business. Yoji Kawaguchi, President of Mitsukoshi Federal Retail Inc., presented how the young farmers can collaborate with them, as well as those presented by Rosalie Scharon Grimaldo, HR Department Senior Manager, and Bon August Decena, Product Development Specialist of Atlas Fertilizer Corporation.

To guide the young farmers in preparing their start-up project, Dr. Saito Shuhei, professor from Tokyo University of Agriculture, presented the technical farm advisory services together with Project Formulation Officer Kenji Niwa of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Philippines.

Each participant who completed the program received a financial assistance worth Php 50,000 as a startup capital for his chosen agricultural business venture. All participants presented their project proposals through project pitching where the top three best project presenters in terms of project feasibility, innovativeness, and market potential were chosen to be eligible for an additional Php 150,000 financial assistance.

The participants also underwent a mental health debriefing session with Dr. Emerson Aliswag to determine any symptoms of depression or suicidal ideation after their 11-month stay in a foreign country.

Held last February 23 to 25, 2024, the activity concluded with a meet-and-greet of YFFLTPJ Batch 2023 and Batch 2024. Engr. Recoter, together with JAEC Secretary General Toshihiro Shimizu, presented the graduates of the program and awarded their certificates of completion.