The average age of Filipino farmers has decreased with more younger generation opting to join the agriculture sector, according to a Department of Agriculture official on Saturday.

DA Assistant Secretary Arnel de Mesa disclosed that the previous average age of farmers in the country was 57 years old and this has decreased to about 49 to 50 years old, based on their registry system.

“Bumababa, ibig sabihin maraming pumapasok na mas bata kasya iyong nauna,” he said in a news forum in Quezon City.

De Mesa also said that the numbers of farmers and livestock growers are not decreasing.

“Actually, hindi bumababa iyong number of farmers, iyong registry system natin we have 12 million na magsasaka, iba-iba ito from rice, corn, coconut kasama na iyong fishers dito, kasama na rin dito iyong mga livestock growers,” he said.

He added that this could also be attributed to those individuals who have retired early and decided to pursue their love for farming.

“Actually marami rin—lalo na iyong mga nasa gobyerno nasa private nakilala ko after nilang magsilbi ay babalik sila sa love for farming,” he said.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., who is also DA Secretary, has been actively advocating for younger generations, especially the youth to help increase the productivity of the agriculture sector. 

Among the programs the DA has recently launched is the Young Farmers Challenge (YFC), which offers financial grant assistance for the youth who will engage in new agri-fishery enterprises.

The agency also continues to offer scholarship for agriculture-related courses. | PND

 (PNA photo by Oliver Marquez)/ FILE