Jakarta (ANTARA) - Agriculture is not currently considered a lucrative career by the young generation in Indonesia as it is believed to be ‘not promising’ or ‘not prestigious’ enough.

The agricultural sector, as a provider of food supply, requires membsrs of young generation to function with a system that is constantly changing with the times.

The ‘old school’ or old-fashioned’ image associated with agriculture has led to the sector being overlooked by the young generation when choosing a career when in fact, agriculture could potentially be a source of high income and therefore, deserves to be considered by them.

Meanwhile, the food crisis issue has made the development of the agricultural sector imperative. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) had earlier named 27 countries that were at risk of experiencing a food crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has continued for nearly two years.

A recent study by the FAO and the World Food Program (WFP) has shown that the global pandemic is exacerbating the food situation in countries previously vulnerable to crises and famine. No one is immune to the food crisis, FAO and WFP have warned.

For that reason, the Indonesian government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, has continued efforts to produce young farmers in many regions across the country since the participation of the young generation is expected to boost modern agriculture and productivity.

On several occasions, Agriculture Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo has stressed that young farmers should take part in developing the agriculture sector in Indonesia.

He hoped that the existence of young farmers in the country would stimulate the emergence of innovations supporting the development of modern agriculture in a bid to attain food self-sufficiency.

Meanwhile, head of the Agricultural Human Resources Counseling and Development Agency (BPPSDMP), Dedi Nursyamsi, emphasized the importance of continuing to improve the quality of agricultural human resources through the regeneration of farmers among other things.

He affirmed that his agency has made efforts for farmer regeneration through agricultural training centers and agricultural development polytechnics.

In essence, all parties have been invited to strive to create job seekers and job creators who are ready to boost creativity and productivity, especially in the agricultural sector, he said.

To accelerate the achievement of that goal, the PPIU (Provincial Project Implementation Unit) of East Java, for example, launched the District Multi-Stakeholder Forum (DMSF) at the Pacitan Development Planning Board Office recently.

The forum is meant to further communicate programs such as the Youth Entrepreneur and Employment Support Services (YESS) program.

YESS is a program that resulted from a collaboration between the Ministry of Agriculture and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD. It is aimed at producing modern, independent, and skilled young entrepreneurs in the agriculture sector as well as a competent agricultural workforce.

Pacitan Regional Secretary Heru Wiwoho said he strongly supports the YESS program due to its alignment with the region’s development plan and the mission of the Pacitan district government. One of the missions of the district government is to increase economic growth through the agriculture sector, tourism sector, and other leading sectors, he added.

Cooperation, collaboration, and synergy between all parties are needed since the Pacitan district government will not be able to achieve these goals without the support of stakeholders, he said.

He expressed optimism that the DMSF forum would be able to help coordination, especially for the implementation of the youth entrepreneurship program in the agricultural sector.

YESS program

YESS is a program for young farmers and one of its goals is to modernize the agriculture sector. The program has been well-received in several regions in the country.

For example, the chairman of the Development Planning Board of Pacitan, Pamuji, said the district government is ready to support the YESS program since it could encourage young people to become entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector independently.

Meanwhile, deputy director of the Malang Agricultural Development Polytechnic (Polbangtan), Dr. Andi Warnaen, said that the YESS program is an entrepreneurship and employment program in the agricultural sector which is being implemented due to the lack of interest among young people to work or pursue a career in the agricultural sector.

It is hoped that the program would boost the interest of the young generation to work in the agriculture sector, both as workers or entrepreneurs, he added.

The YESS program helps young people through various activities, including training for youth capacity building, he said. It also provides access to competitive grants to stimulate the younger generation to want to become entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector, he added.

The YESS program has mobilizers, facilitators, mentors, and financial advisors who can assist participants in entrepreneurship, he informed.

In addition, there are also Business Development Service Providers (BDSP) consisting of Agricultural Counseling Centers and Rural Agricultural Training Centers, which function as Agribusiness Consulting Clinics, Warnaen said.

In collaboration with the International Fund For Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Ministry of Agriculture is striving to develop strong and quality young entrepreneurs in the 17–39 age group through the YESS program, he informed.

There are four pilot provinces participating in the program—South Kalimantan, West Java, East Java, and South Sulawesi, he said.

In South Kalimantan, the YESS program is targeting to produce five thousand farmers from the three districts of Banjar, Tanah Laut, and Tanah Bumbu, he informed. So far, Rp3 billion has been distributed to around two thousand beneficiaries under the program, he said.

From there, young farmers, as the pillars of modern agriculture are expected to be born and support food availability for all the people in the country, he added.

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Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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