The College of Agriculture of Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan has recorded a 100- percent increase in freshmen students flocking to courses in agriculture.
Dean Roel Ravanera disclosed that as of May 27, freshmen who enrolled at the College of Agriculture have reached 183, double the number of enrollees last year.
“This means more and more people in Northern Mindanao are investing in agricultural education,” he said.
Of the major courses offered by the agriculture college, BS Food Technology gained 41 students this school year from 24 enrolled last year. BS Agribusiness registered 15 students compared to last year’s 12.
Most freshmen applicants were from this city, as well as from Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental. There were also students from Luzon and Visayas.
The school has already reached 96.3 percent of its projection for school year 2009-2010.
The increase in enrollment could be attributed to the recruitment campaign the school conducted in 73 high schools all over Northern Mindanao early this year.
Ravanera said this also indicates that parents, who hold influence over their children’s choice of courses, are thinking of alternatives to the present economic conditions.
“Agriculture is on the rebound,” he said in an article posted on the college’s official web site, adding that a number of international institutions recognize that it plays a critical role in addressing not only the threat of future food shortages but also the search for alternative sources of energy.
Ravanera, brother of Cooperative Development Authority-10 director Orlando Ravanera, said that “agriculture also offers livelihood opportunities that have become attractive given the global financial crisis.”
Also, companies like Del Monte Philippines Inc. here are expanding production and need more people.
“Del Monte is expanding operations because of the global demand for their products, and they need human resource. They are investing in agricultural education in the form of scholarships. Now we are getting at least 10 scholars supported by Del Monte,” Ravanera said.
While optimistic that agriculture’s popularity will likely continue, Ravanera admits that the College of Agriculture has to work hard to increase public awareness on the relevance of agriculture.
“With all these developments in agriculture, the college has to come up with a better system where investments in agriculture education by industries, local government units and communities can be facilitated,” he added.