Meloto urges private sector to shape young agri entrepreneurs
ANGAT, Bulacan—Gawad Kalinga founder Antonio Meloto has called on the private sector to help encourage young Filipinos to become agricultural entrepreneurs and help alleviate poverty in the country.
“Our farmers are turning old. Their children are becoming tricycle drivers. They are no longer producers,” Meloto said during the 4th Global Social Business Summit recently held at the GK Enchanted Farm here where leaders of top domestic and foreign corporations gathered to discuss social enterprise.
Meloto said that he sees a critical shortage of farmers in the country taking place within the next 15 years.
GK, he said, has been trying to reverse that trend by training children of tricycle drivers and construction workers to become farmers.
A group of young men called “Spartans” is being trained to become agricultural entrepreneurs under the School for Experiential and Entrepreneurial Development (SEED) program of the GK Foundation.
Ten “Spartans” were adopted by Malaysian writer Shirley Maya Tan, who has made the GK Enchanted Farm her new home.
“This group of young men is given tough love. They are trained to wake up at 5 a.m. to feed chicken among other things,” Meloto sai.d
He said the budding social entrepreneurs were being taught about the “value of sacrifice and the joy of investing in their dream” while they toil at the GK Farm.
The Enchanted Farm, according to Tan, “has an industry, a university, and a community.”
“This is why we call it the first Farm Village University (FVU), and as far as we know, it is the first of its kind in the world,” Tan said.
Jose Ma. Concepcion III, presidential adviser for Asean Entrepreneurship, said agriculture was the “big game changer” in alleviating poverty in the country.
“Unless we solve poverty in this country, we will never go anywhere,” said Concepcion.