Online platform seeks to attract young people to agriculture

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said it tied up with IOT Technology, Inc. to develop an online application designed to help young agricultural entrepreneurs build their markets digitally.

Launched on Feb. 16, the AgriKonek app allows young agriculturists, including those engaged in fishing, to post product prices and available volume online for potential buyers.

The DA said users can tap AgriKonek data to monitor inventory, track changes, and streamline inefficiencies, lowering production costs.

At the launch, Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said the app is intended to encourage more young people to engage in agriculture, which is transitioning to digital platforms by necessity due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We are hoping to attract more young blood to give agriculture a second look, and consider starting a journey of not only becoming agripreneurs, but also partners in national development,” Mr. Dar said.

Leo Lirio, IOT Technology president and chief executive officer, said the AgriKonek app will assist users in managing their farm assets and sell to a virtual marketplace.

According to the DA’s Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC), its loan program for young agricultural entrepreneurs will be offered on the app.

ACPC Executive Director Jocelyn Alma R. Badiola said beneficiaries from other loan programs will also be eventually integrated into the application.

“With these digital solutions, we are actually turning the challenges of COVID-19 into opportunities as we are attracting more youth, who are naturally attracted to digital tools, to go back to agriculture and fisheries,” Ms. Badiola said.

“By promoting more use of digital technology, COVID-19 may have unintentionally made agriculture more attractive to younger generations. We can consider this a silver lining in these uncertain times,” she added. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave