PHILIPPINES: Youth and local farmers achieve self-sufficiency through training program
Don Bosco Legazpi runs successful Bosconian Young Farmers Club to help young farmers gain practical experience
(MissionNewswire) Don Bosco Agro-Mechanical Technology Center (known locally as Don Bosco Legazpi), located in Banquerohan, Legazpi City, Philippines, is helping a new generation of farmers prepare for the future. The average age of farmers in the country is 57, and youth have a real opportunity to gain steady employment and make an impact on farming in their communities.
Don Bosco Legazpi is a technical vocational school offering skills training and a farm development program to help youth and local farmers achieve self-sufficiency. As part of the center, Salesians have seven hectares of land for agricultural production, known as the Don Bosco Demonstration Farm. On the farm, Salesians teach agricultural production and proper utilization of agricultural equipment.
There is also the Don Bosco agricultural multi-purpose cooperative which facilitates microfinancing to farmers and coordinates the use of tractors and other mechanics for land preparation, planting, weeding, marketing and training. Part of the agricultural production is raising pigs and chickens. Currently, Salesians have facilities for 14 sows and two buildings for 1,000 chickens each. The chickens produce eggs to sell to generate an income as part of the training program in entrepreneurship.
Don Bosco Legazpi has also created the Bosconian Young Farmers Club, an agricultural club of young past pupils. Last year, with the help of industry professionals, 10 volunteers received training and orientation about the club and how it should be run. The club includes these 10 volunteer members along with five honorary members. It is run by Salesian Father Ronilo Javines.
The Bosconian Young Farmers Club offers a youth cooperative that supports agro-entrepreneurial initiatives and promotes family-based natural farming, helps with the reduction of the ecological footprint of Salesian activities, and runs a youth farm.
“This small but very significant seed could bear many fruits and inspire other Salesians and past pupils in many agricultural realities to follow this path,” said Fr. Javines.
Since 1950, Salesian Missions has been providing crucial help in the Philippines—working with at-risk youth, impoverished families and disaster victims. Humanitarian agencies warn of the dangers faced by the most disadvantaged children in the Philippines. According to UNICEF, there are at least 1.2 million children between the ages of 5 and 15 who are out of school and are being left behind. In addition, children born into the poorest 20 percent of the population are almost three times more likely to die during their first five years as those from the richest 20 percent.
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Salesian Missions – Philippines
UNICEF – Philippines