Fourth District Rep. Toff de Venecia visits a farm in San Fabian with town’s community leaders.
“AGRI-business is the new sunshine industry in the Philippines”, asserted Rep. Toff de Venecia, (4th District, Pangasinan), as he urged the youth to engage in farming, citing that higher income can be derived from farming through an urgent shift from traditional agricultural production to agri-business.
Addressing more than 150 youth groups in Teachers Camp, Baguio City during the launching of United Nation SDSN (Sustainable Development Solutions Network) Youth-Philippines, De Venecia expressed his alarm over the ageing population of Filipino farmers.
“The average age of a farmer is 57-59 years old. Assuming a lifespan of 70 years, in 15 years, there will be a critical shortage of farmers in the Philippines. Our farmers are getting old and their children are not keen on taking over, because of their lack of interest or incentive, or both”, said the son of former House Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. and former Congresswoman Gina de Venecia.
“Young farmers should be recognized as a separate basic sector with its own set of distinct rights and responsibilities” he added, saying that he is working on an enabling policy that recognizes and protects the identity, rights and responsibilities of a young farmer to give them incentive to continue the legacy of their parents.
At the same time, De Venecia rallied the youth to help in nation-building. “In our country, 60 million Filipinos are below 30 years old, which comprise approximately 58% of the total population. With that number of determined and optimistic young people, imagine what we can do if we all unite as influencers of change to transform our world?!
He said that this demographic shift in Philippine population warrants collaborative partnerships that will serve as pathways for achieving success.
He said, “The Sustainable Development Solutions Network is among them, because through SDSN, young Filipinos will be empowered to take an active role in shaping our future by doing everything we can to address the tyranny of poverty, gender inequality, improve areas of critical importance for humanity and simply make our country a better place.”
The UN SDSN–Youth Philippines was launched by the United Nations in Baguio City to encourage the Filipino youth to be a part of a global network, mobilizing the young citizens to help find sustainable solutions that will address the new 17 sustainable goals set by the UN to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind by the year 2030.