The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) is emboldening the all-female students of the Balete Family Farm School, Inc. (BFFS) in Batangas in a learning event that will enable them to refine the business plans they developed as part of their Family Enterprise Project and gain additional learning on agripreneurship.

BFFS has the distinction of being the only all-female family farm school in Asia. The BFFS teaching and administrative staff as well as students are all female. All the students are in junior high school.

“In view of this, the one-day learning activity to be hosted by SEARCA on 31 March 2023 is a fitting culminating celebration of the International Women’s Month,” said SEARCA Director Dr. Glenn Gregorio.

SEARCA Unit Head for Partnerships Sharon Malaiba said BFFS is engaged in various livelihood projects to help finance its scholarship program for poor but eligible young girls to get a high school education with an entrepreneurial orientation focused on agriculture.

“Seeing the value of empowering schoolgirls and farming families through quality education, SEARCA has reached out to BFFS to provide an avenue for their graduating students to present their agri-based business plans to a panel of experts from SEARCA,” Malaiba explained.

Aside from having its experts evaluate the students’ business plans, SEARCA will also conduct a lecture on agripreneurship for the family farm school students and teachers and stimulate an innovation mindset in agriculture among the youth.

“SEARCA hopes to empower the next generation agriculture leaders and professionals through knowledge sharing and experiential learning,” Gregorio said.

He added that this initiative articulates SEARCA’s priority focus on gender and youth engagement in agriculture and rural development as well as agri-business models for increased productivity and income.