The Department of Agriculture (DA) aims to enlist about 900 fresh graduates to be ‘frontliners’ by assisting in the implementation of the department’s programs.

“We need young blood in agriculture,” said DA Secretary William Dar who has been encouraging the young to get involved in the agri-fisheries sector.

He pointed out how the youth are “well connected through electronic devices that can help modernize farming and fishing activities.”

Dar is eyeing the 2019-2020 graduates to be designated as “on-the-job trainees or OJTs for about six months, given an attractive allowance.” “Later we will urge them to get employed and detailed at each congressional district under the DA-Agricultural Program Coordinating Offices (APCOs),” he said.

Dar explained that each province has a DA-APCO that liaises with local government units to ensure the success of agricultural banner programs on rice, corn, high-value crops, livestock and poultry.

These DA-APCOs will also have to make recommendations and also monitor the national and regional programs to ensure that they are effectively communicated at the local level.

“Under the mentorship of APCOs, the millennial OJTs will also serve as ‘infomediaries’ or information providers of various DA programs to farmers and rural folk using information and communication technologies (ICTs).” the secretary added.

“Eventually, when their OJT stint is over we will ask them to develop their respective agri-fishery business plan to be pursued as a project in their own localities.”

An initial P100-million will initially be budgeted for this thrust. (Jojo Mangahis)