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Agripreneur bootcamp ignites business innovation

by janice jan

The Young Agripreneurs Building Opportunities, Nurturing Growth (YABONG) Bootcamp co-implemented by East-West Seed Philippines (EWPH) and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) will close on May 9, 2024 with a pitching session, graduation, and innovation fair at SEARCA in Los Baños, Laguna.

Twenty young farmers, selected out of 160 applicants from all over Luzon, joined the bootcamp to enhance their expertise in vegetable production and entrepreneurship. Almost half of them were women and their farms ranged from half a hectare to 12 hectares.

They mastered farming techniques and learned to devise business strategies, and believed in growth opportunities in vegetable farming and learning.

“May pera sa gulay,” said John Francisco, while Genivie Marqueses said, “Nasa agrikultura ang pag-unlad ng future.” Meanwhile, Bicol farmer Mildred Ninofranco anticipates substantial improvements in her farming business, emphasizing the importance of adopting new technologies and efficient farming practices.

The bootcamp combined online and hands-on sessions to offer a dynamic learning experience. Topics covered included seed management, soil nutrients, pests, and diseases. Hands-on activities included cross-pollination, mulching, transplanting, trellising, pruning, and vine management. Participants also toured the East-West Seed Philippines warehouse and laboratories, gaining insights into seed variety development, packaging, and shipping processes for tropical vegetables.

Moreover, the participants learned the importance of developing business plans for various purposes including strategy creation, partner recruitment, fundraising, decision-making, cash flow tracking, and effective marketing.

Twenty-one sessions over three months spent crafting innovative business improvement plans for their farms will culminate in a pitch competition, with the top five earning a P50,000-boost to kickstart their farm enhancements. Judging will be based on completeness, feasibility, sustainability, entrepreneurial mindset, innovativeness, and delivery.

On graduation day, the young agripreneurs will also showcase their plans and products at the innovation fair, which is open to the public. The fair will feature value-added, farm-based products and services that visitors may purchase or order. Plant and farm doctors will provide free consultation. (PR)

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