A Youth Organization Calls for Students to Empower the Agriculture Sector

Manila Bulletin, September 1, 2020 | Go to article overview

A Youth Organization Calls for Students to Empower the Agriculture Sector


Even students are now realizing the importance of supporting the agriculture sector.

The Agriculture Students Association of the Philippines (ASAP) was formed because of the absence of a national association for agriculture students in the Philippines.

ASAP is a youth organization that serves as a platform where students from 11 universities and colleges can take part in modernizing and developing the agriculture sector.

Last August 21, 2020, over 100 participants joined the ASAP kick-off event, together with Senator Francis Pangilinan, DA Secretary William Dar, and JT Solis of Mayani.

"This is an organization that needs to be supported and needs to become successful if we are to turn agriculture around in the country and modernize agriculture finally to address poverty and our security," Pangilinan said during the online launch.

Reginald Magcalas, an Agricultural Biotechnology student of UP Los Banos and an ASAP founding member, said, "ASAP gives these youth agricultural organizations a voice to empower their advocacies and goals for the agriculture sector. It is now high time to let the youth be heard, especially when it comes to talks regarding agriculture because the youth is the future of the agriculture sector."

To date, ASAP is composed of students from De La Salle University, Polytechnic University of the Philippines-Sta. Mesa, University of Santo Tomas, Cavite State University-Main Campus, Central Luzon State University, Mariano Marcos State University, University of the Philippines-Los Banos, Cebu Technological University, West Visayas State University, Central Mindanao University, and Western Mindanao State University.

The organization seeks to unite like-minded individuals that are dedicated to the development of Philippine agriculture. When asked about what the association stands up for, Magcalas said, "The association believes in collective youth action, especially in the agriculture sector. The convening of different agriculture organizations throughout the country with the same mindset, same advocacies, and the same goal of furthering the agriculture sector is what ASAP aims to do."

Debunking the stereotypes

Through advocacies and promotions, ASAP also aims to break stigmas revolving around agriculture that are not usually pointed out, yet creates a wrong mentality to some Filipinos.

"Mag-aral ka kung 'di pupulutin ka sa kangkungan" (Study hard so you don't end up in the kangkong fields.) is one of the remarks that we commonly hear, but leaves a negative outlook on agriculture. There are reasons why these stereotypes must be stopped and corrected. Nina Salamanca, ASAP founding member stressed, "Phrases like this are easily thrown around when in fact it can come out as demeaning to our farmers. …

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