RSS | Register/註冊 | Log in/登入
Site search:
Home>FFTC Document Database>Annual Reports>FFTC 2018 ANNUAL REPORT>Project 6: Fostering increased engagement and capacitating the youth on agri-entrepreneurship

Collection of information & technologies
Seminars and workshops

Project 6: Fostering increased engagement and capacitating the youth on agri-entrepreneurship

Location: Serdang, Malaysia
Date: October 1-5
Participating countries: 10 (Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam) 
Papers presented: 16
Co-organizers: Malaysian Agricultural Development Institute (MARDI) / Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD)

In 2014 and 2015, FFTC organized international seminars on “Enhanced Entry of Young Generation into Farming” and “Cultivating the Young Generation of Farmers with Farmland Policy Implications.” These seminars are a response to the Center’s strategic plan of focusing on the theme of encouraging the young generation to engage in farming. However, the training aspect of developing the agri-entrepreneurial skills of the youth has not been fully tackled. This is the reason why FFTC, the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) and the Philippine Council for Agriculture Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) have joined forces to organize another international seminar, this time focusing on capacitating the youth for agri-entrepreneurship. It aims to include the participation of vendors and entrepreneurs from different countries who are involved in farming and agriculture and learn from each other’s knowledge and experiences.
The keyword is entrepreneurship, the process of designing, launching and running a new business. Seen in the context of agriculture with emphasis on training the youth and engaging them in entrepreneurial activities, 16 experts from 10 countries gathered at the MARDI headquarters to discuss about the business challenges and issues revolving around agri-entrepreneurship.

The workshop/discussion part was divided into three sessions. Session 1 was entitled “Young-Agri-Entrepreneurs in the Region: Overcoming Challenges and Transforming Agriculture.” Session 2 focused on “Best Practices and Success Stories of Agri-Entrepreneurship” and Session 3: “Finding Success in Agri-Entrepreneurship.”

Based on the paper presentations and discussions, there are seven basic factors which have been identified to hold the keys to successful agri-entrepreneurship. These are quality of products, quality service, marketing, grouping (community of farmers), sharing (trust and honesty), learning from mistakes or failures and the right information.

The abovementioned keys to success were also mentioned in three remarkable presentations from real entrepreneurs. First was a Filipino agribusiness entrepreneur who discussed his experiences when he was a young entrepreneur working and staying in Taiwan. From a company that first ventured into aquaculture production, he expanded this to other crops and made his company grow. The speaker discussed practical lessons which he learned from his more than 20 years of experiences as an entrepreneur emphasizing that agribusiness is 10% science, 40% experiences and skills and 50% character and attitude. Nurturing values is part of his lessons learned and he repeatedly said that in agribusiness, one should learn from his/her failures.

Another agribusiness entrepreneur from Taiwan, who is President of the Yunlin County Youth Farmers Association, spontaneously discussed the growing process and strategy in agriculture and his experiences as a rookie working with a team of young farmers in Taiwan. He  also shared to the group how the government’s training program helped his organization manage his organic farm, mostly through the introduction of young technologies. Basic human values like honesty and integrity made him wade through the uncharted waters of agribusiness.

The Founder of AgriSocio Seafast Center in Dramaga, Bogor, Indonesia, summarized the secrets of his success in his presentation on Youth and Agri-Entrepreneurship in Indonesia. He said factors that affect much of his achievements include improving self-confidence in public speaking, working experience in marketing and doing innovative activities in agriculture; making social maps, schedule planning, risk control, building a learning center, community development. He also has a traceability system built in his products using modern technology. In essence he said constant upgrading of the quality of products and services spell the difference in the success of agribusiness.

Other issues mentioned are lack of technical skills and lack of capacity to implement them, unwillingness of some successful farmers to share information, efficiency problems and the age-old issue regarding competition versus cooperation. In terms of processing and marketing, consistency, efficiency and market penetration were the issues raised. The social media has been identified as a powerful tool in marketing products and changing the youth’s negative perception about farming. Innovation and thinking out-of-the-box have been mentioned as good approaches to developing agricultural markets.

Major findings and recommendations

1. Allot calamity funds and insurance for young farmers;
2. Strengthen monitoring and incentive programs for young farmers;
3. Firm up policies on rural revitalization;
4. Introduce agricultural courses in school in the early stages;
5. Establish agricultural leadership campaign for the youth;
6. Document cases of successful agri-entrepreneurs and make this as educational materials in schools; 
7. Utilize social media and the power of celebrity to entice young people to be engaged in farming;
8. Implement subsidized water and electricity for young farmers;
9. Conduct more trainings on quality management and regulatory compliance in preparation for exports and simplify the process to comply with government regulations;
10. Create a platform to continuously educate the farmers on every component of the value chain; and
11. Strictly implement the policies regarding Fair Business Practices.

List of papers

1. Empowering youth through innovation in the food industry - Halim bt Hafiz Ahmad 
2. Youth and agri-entrepreneurship in Asia - Halim Shah bin Hamzah 
3. Engaging youth in agriculture: applying TRIZ in the context of agriculture - Ong Jeen Wei 
4. Youth and agri-entrepreneurship in Korea - Hsi Yun Park 
5. Implementation of the new farmers’ cultivation program in Taiwan - Cheng-Ray Yang 
6. Youth and agri-entrepreneurship in Japan - Ruriko Nohguchi 
7. Promoting agri-entrepreneurship among youth through the tertiary education system - Melvin Carlos 
8. An agri-entrepreneur’s success story - Tsang - Arsenio Barcelona 
9. Expansion of business model to farmers’ cooperation in Taiwan - Chuan-Ci Lu 
10. PGS organic vegetables in Hanoi: engaging young and local agri-entrepreneurs - Tranh Manh Chien 
11. Youth and agriculture in Lao PDR - Dethsackda Manikham 
12. Youth and agri-entrepreneurship in Thailand - Decharut Sukkonoed 
13. Best practices of agri-entrepreneurs in the Philippines - Glenn Baticados 
14. Youth and agri-entrepreneurship in Indonesia - Alfi Irfan 
15. EBest practices: the Kuala Langat farmers association - Mohd Shakran bin Shamsudin 
16. Youth and agri-entrepreneurship in Myanmar - Aung Phyo 

Workshop speakers and participants visit a vegetable farm mostly planted to chilies operated by En Shakran b Shamsudin, one of the speakers of the said workshop. The farm managers talked about the phone applications used by farmers to signal the start of fertilizer and pesticide spraying which are all computerized and mechanized.

FFTC Director Dr. Kuo-Ching Lin, receives a token of appreciation from MARDI’s Director General Datuk Dr. Mohamad Roff bin Mohd Noor while PCAARRD’s Acting Executive Director Dr. Reynaldo Ebora looks on. The workshop aims to increase awareness and understanding on the issues and key challenges in encouraging the youth to be involved in agricultural activities.

Sixteen speakers from 10 countries, most of whom are young agri-entrepreneurs, gathered in Malaysia to present and share their knowledge and experiences in managing their farms and teaching young people to appreciate agribusiness. The joint efforts of FFTC, PCAARRD and MARDI further led to discussions on the best practices of young agri-entrepreneurs in the region.