By Saul Pa-a
LOS BAŇOS, Laguna — A photo contest which zooms in on images depicting Southeast Asian youth actively engaged in agriculture has been launched to inspire others to become “agri-preneurs.”
The 2019 edition of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) Photo Contest is open to all nationals of the Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam.
Leah Lyn Domingo, public relations specialist of the Office of the SEARCA Director, told Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Wednesday that “this year’s competition aims to capture scenes that illustrate the theme “Cultivating Southeast Asia’s Youth Agripreneurs.”
The competition’s formal launching was held on Monday here. Domingo added that sub-themes are innovative farming, agricultural entrepreneurship, maximizing information and communications technology (ICT), and the agriculture-education link.
The intent is to highlight the potential of the youth in transforming the Southeast Asian agriculture landscape and inspire enthusiasm among the young to be involved in agriculture.
SEARCA director Glenn Gregorio said the agricultural entrepreneurs or “agri-preneurs” or “transfarmers” are people who combine business opportunities with agriculture and create their own business to generate income and employment.
Gregorio said Southeast Asia’s young population should be seen as an advantage and (has) strong potential for a bright future in the agriculture sector of most countries in the region.
The SEARCA director said Southeast Asia’s population is considered young, with ages ranging from 15 to 34, which makes up 34 percent of the total number of the region’s inhabitants.
United Nations data in 2016 revealed that the Southeast Asian population of young people reached an estimated 213 million and is projected to increase to 220 million youths by 2038.
“Because the youth is the future engagement of any given country, they should be invested in, properly guided and directed, so they will become good leaders and the catalyst for economic, social, and cultural development,” Gregorio said.
He added that “SEARCA wants young Southeast Asians to see the agriculture sector as an attractive business proposition that will earn a decent living, allow them to stay with their families, and one that will create a vibrant rural economy in their communities.”
For the competition, the first-place winner will receive US$1,000, the second and third places will get US$800 and US$500, respectively, while a People’s Choice award will receive US$200.
There will also be special prizes for the Department of Education Secretary’s Choice and the SEARCA Director’s Choice.
All entries must be submitted online at https://photocontest.searca.org/ until November 30, 2019. (PNA)