THE Agriculture department touted its startup loan and technical assistance programs in a pitch to potential young farmers, who are considered critical to the industry’s modernization.

“We need to harness the potential and strength of the youth in our journey to making Philippine agriculture modern, industrialized and competitive,” Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said.

In a statement, Mr. Dar cited the Agricultural Credit and Policy Council’s Kapital Access for Young Agripreneurs (KAYA) loan program, which can provide capital to both current and startup businesses.

KAYA is targeted at borrowers who are 18 to 30 years old and provides up to P500,000 at zero interest and no collateral, payable over five years.

“KAYA targets the youth because we acknowledge that they can be key players in ensuring affordability and availability of the food supply,” Mr. Dar said.

He also cited the Business Incubation in Agriculture program, which hopes to guide micro and small enterprises, cooperatives and associations through their wup phase of operations.

“This has now become a competition among nations. We need to increase our efforts in taking care of agriculture and we need the younger generation to take the lead,” Mr. Dar said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave