Joveil Velasco’s project is one of the top 10 national agribusiness plans chosen by the Department of Agriculture panel of judges.

A 26-year-old Palaweña agricultural engineer and entrepreneur who had developed a cashew based vinegar made it to the top 10 of the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) search for Top 10 Best National Agribusiness plans.

Joveil Velasco is one of three Palaweños selected for a 24-week internship with the DA’s Mentoring and Attracting Youth in Agribusiness (MAYA) program.

She immerses herself along with personnel of the DA Palawan during the fieldwork.

The program aims to develop young Filipinos into agri-fishery entrepreneurs, technocrats, and train them as future leaders of the department or of their communities and local government units (LGUs).

“First, because it is the product of Palawan, it produces about 90 percent of the cashew apple nationwide, producer at saka product natin siya, one town one product sa Roxas. I want to maximize agricultural waste into something useful, to utilize it, kaya naging cashew apple,” she said.

“Sa ganitong product, pwede natin siya i-sell locally and ever ma-develop siya, ang suggested ng panel of judges is to make it an artisanal vinegar. I really hope na pwede siya maging pasalubong item dito sa Puerto Princesa,” she added.

Joveil observes price in the market during the span of her internship under MAYA program.

Joveil is the only MAYA intern from Palawan and DA MIMAROPA that was included in the Top 10 national winners of the best MAYA agribusiness plan. Through the internship program, DA granted her business plan with a P40,000 budget which production will start by July.

Joveil plans to apply her learnings to produce innovations with the cashew apple vinegar and her profession can help to improve the mechanization of cashew nuts production to maximize the resources and lessen the waste.

She envisioned the development of the product to be a locally-established business that would also provide job opportunities to other Palaweños.

Joveil presents her agribusiness plan virtually to secretary William Dar which entitled “Kaju: Cashew Apple Vinegar” along with other MAYA interns.

“Hopefully, after I get an established business, I want to help out. Kasi during my internship, I discover na sobrang tedious ‘yong pag-produce ng cashew nuts. As an agricultural engineer, I want to help in mechanization para mas less ‘yong tedious labor and mas efficient siya. Mas mababawasan ‘yong waste, mas mama-maximize ‘yong resources natin through mechanization,” she said.

She is positive that Palawan has many potentials with the number of raw materials that are yet to be developed into a local business idea.

As a youth herself, Joveil believes that the young Filipinos could help in securing food security especially at the time of pandemic. She encouraged them to also venture into the field of agriculture and live a life for others.

“Helping out other people is not an easy task but it is very worthwhile and fulfilling. I hope that they start on their own little ways kahit ‘yong backyard garden lang nila just to provide for their families. Kahit ‘yong simpleng food lang nila on the table, the little things like having vegetable in their garden,” she said.

“That’s hopefully my goal, to encourage more youth to engage in agriculture. To promote food security kasi despite of pandemic, ito talaga ‘yong necessity natin, ‘yong food and agriculture is not a venture or a career that everybody chooses. Hopefully, through this program, mas ma-promote ang agriculture kasi our farmers are aging already, we have to step up as youth to help in food security,” she added.