Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan College of Agriculture held a consultation on 10 February 2017 with government agencies, non-government organizations and private establishments to discuss Agriculture trends that would help them in crafting new programs, address job mismatch and ultimately contribute to inclusive growth in the country.
According to Maria Rosario Mosqueda, dean of College of Agriculture, this will help them in developing the new curriculum for its undergraduate programs beginning school year 2018-2019.
On recruitment, April Sacal, human resource officer of San Miguel Foods, Inc. in Mindanao said that the challenge is on skills mismatch. There is a big gap between the skills of the graduate vs skills required, or competencies required. Their positions include Animal Production Specialist, Animal Health Specialist and Agri development such as area coordinators.
She said that aside from hiring agriculture graduates, they also send them to San Miguel Purefoods University for six months for further study.
Second issue she shared was employee retention. Reality she said was that existing highly skilled employees migrate to other countries such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand for greener pasture.
Meanwhile, Roberto “Bobby” Ansaldo of the Cagayan de Oro Oro Chamber of Commerce said that problem of Agriculture right now is conflicting land claims. Indigenous People in Bukidnon lease their lands to big companies to get employment.
Ansaldo said to consider development trends in Agriculture instead of employment trends.
Reality is that young people are going abroad in order to make employment. Agriculture can give them that income but they are afraid to partner with business, he said.
The solution is Inclusive growth through inclusive business. An example of this is contract growing with Del Monte Inc. It started 25 or 30 years ago where Del Monte would provide seed and technology to farmers and that these farmers would grow in their own farms. Now, 75% of papaya requirements of Del Monte come from small farmers, he said.
Agriculture graduates must help these small farmers to partner with business. The Filipino is very good in the science of agriculture but very bad in the business of agriculture. He challenged agriculture graduates get into the business, know how to make money and include the poor.
Finally, Department of Agriculture (DA) region 10 Assistant Regional Director Engr. Roxana H. Hojas said the department needs graduates who understands the value chain meaning from seed to shelf and see the gaps to be addressed.
Further, very basic these days for students to know how to make project proposal. These are important so projects can be funded. On the other hand, DA has also shifted to value adding and infrastructure.
Hojas said to strengthen course syllabus in the designing of machineries or infrastructures. DA has funded farm to market roads including agri engineering facilities such as warehouses, among others. (JMOR/PIA10)