“I am proud to be a farmer and an agriculturist,” says Marilyn Cenit, 24, one of the young agriculturists at the Yamang Bukid Farm in Palawan.
Yamang Bukid Farm in Barangay Bacungan in the outskirts of Puerto Princesa City was formed by the Yamang Bukid Healthy Products, Inc. (YBHPI) when it expanded its business operations and developed a farm in partnership with the community.
It became a haven to residents of the village whose difficult lives in the past were touched and changed by the farm.
Yamang Bukid gave the residents the assurance that they’ll have stable work to put food on their tables and are enjoying what they do on the farm, as well as the incentives provided by the management.
Yamang Bukid Farm employs young guns, like Cenit, who finished agriculture to manage and facilitate farming activities.
“Noong pinahawak po nila ako ng succulents, sobrang blessed ko po kasi na-apply ko na po doon ‘yong pinag-aralan ko. Naramdaman kong nakikita nila ‘yong what is the best in me. Alam kong pinagkakatiwalaan nila ako,” (When they let me manage the succulents in the farm, I was so blessed that I was able to apply what I learned. They saw what is best in me. I felt that they trusted me) Cenit said.
Cenit also shared that her job at the farm has helped her cope with her post-partum depression despite the fact that it’s hard to be a full-time mother to her baby at the same time.
“Mahirap po sa isang ina na pagsasabayin ‘yong trabaho tapos ‘yong pag-aalaga ng anak kasi gusto ko pong maging full-time mommy, as well as gusto ko rin po magkaroon ng additional income para matustusan ko ‘yong pangangailangan ng baby ko (It’s difficult for a mother to do work and taking care of her child at the same time, especially since I also want to be a full-time mom, as well as have additional income to pay for the needs of my baby),” Cenit elaborated.
Cenit said there was a point in her life when she lost hope and confidence in herself.
Not going into details, Cenit said she failed to keep everything she had, causing her to breakdown from being optimistic in life.
“Nandoon po ako sa punto ng buhay na parang wala na akong gana, na wala na akong confidence sa sarili ko. Lahat po ng meron sa akin dati ay nawala. Pero no’ng dumating po ang Yamang Bukid sa buhay ko, napakalaking impact niya sa akin hindi lamang sa personalidad ko kundi sa buong pagkatao ko at sa pamilya ko (I lost interest in life and even lost my confidence. What I used to have were all gone. But when Yamang Bukid came to my life, it impacted me a lot — not only my personality but also my family),” Cenit added.
Youth in agriculture
Agriculture and its related fields are in-demand courses as proclaimed by the Commission on Higher Education in the year 2018.
Cenit said when she was asked to choose the agricultural course she completed, she heeded because she wanted to give importance to farming.
She said she also knows that farmers are still being looked down upon so she wants to contribute to changing that attitude by many.
“‘Yon po ‘yong kurso na kinuha ko hindi dahil napilitan lang ako kundi ‘yon talaga ang pinili ko kasi para hindi nabibigyan ng importansya [ang agriculture], tsaka maliit po ‘yong tingin sa isang farmer. Gusto kong itaas ‘yong antas ng propesyon ng isang [agriculturist] o ng isang farmer kasi malaki ang impact ng farmers sa ating ekonomiya (I took the course in agriculture not because I was forced to choose it, but because the profession is not getting the importance it should have and also because people still belittle farmers. I want to help in advocating the profession because farmers have a big impact on our economy),” she added.
Cenit, together with Yamang Bukid Farm, encourages the youth to take up agricultural related courses as the Philippines is rich in lands and services.
She said the country needs more agriculturists and farmers to continue feeding the nation and create more technologies for efficient farming.
“Gusto ko po i-encourage ‘yung mga kabataan na mag-agriculture sila or kahit subukan lang nila para malaman nila na kung ano ‘yung impact nito sa ating bansa at sa kanilang sarili (I want to encourage the youth to take up agriculture or just even try it for them to know their impact to the nation and to their lives as well),” Cenit pointed out.